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From 1951 to 1952 Matisse produced some large drawings of acrobats executed with a thick brush placed at the end of a long stick.

Drawing is like making an expressive gesture with the advantage of permanence. (Matisse)

Henri Matisse Acrobat 1952 brush and ink on paper 105 x 74.5 cm (private collection)

These drawings are made up of calligraphic contour line only, which is gestural and expressive, capturing the essence of the acrobat's action. Matisse worked on these drawings at the same time as his cutout series of Blue nudes, and the two mediums seem to represent two different approaches to form and space. The figure and ground relationship becomes ambiguous and the negative space complements the form.

Matisse drawing with stick
Matisse drawing with brush and long stick

End of Drawing



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