Matisse said that he was never truly expressing himself until he started to work with collages. His cut-outs comprise some of his most famous work and also represents the artist at his most expressive, despite being restricted by age and movement. To recognise the new exhibition of his later works at the Tate Modern, we dive head first into Matisse’s colourful jungle of a mind to see what the great creative had to say about himself.
1. "Expression, for me, does not reside in passions glowing in a human face or manifested by violent movement. The entire arrangement of my picture is expressive; the place occupied by the figures, the empty spaces around them, the proportions, everything has its share"
2. "In love, the one who runs away is the winner"
3. "I don't paint things. I only paint the difference between things"
4. "I am unable to make any distinction between the feeling I get from life and the way I translate that feeling into painting"
"I wouldn't mind turning into a vermilion goldfish" — Henri Matisse
5. "Seek the strongest color effect possible... the content is of no importance"
7. "I wouldn't mind turning into a vermilion goldfish"
8. "It has bothered me all my life that I do not paint like everybody else"
9. "There are always flowers for those who want to see them"
10. "From the moment I held the box of colors in my hands, I knew this was my life. I threw myself into it like a beast that plunges towards the thing it loves"
Henri Matisse: The Cut Outs runs at the Tate Modern until September 7 2014
Text by Rosie Neve