LONDON, April 17 (Xinhua) -- The late works of famed French master artist Henri Matisse are the subject of a large scale exhibition opened Thursday at the Tate Modern gallery in here.
The exhibition "Henri Matisse: The Cut-Outs" focuses on the work produced by the French artist in the last 15 years or so of his life, before his death at the age of 84 in 1954.
"No one has attempted such a full scale gathering of works as this before," assistant curator Flavia Frigeri told Xinhua.
There have been just two exhibitions anywhere in the world until now covering the later works of Matisse.
"This is a period which, surprisingly, has not received much attention," said Frigeri.
Matisse is most famous for his work as a painter and a sculptor.
As he got older, Matisse found painting difficult because of ill health, so he began to cut into painted paper with scissors to make maquettes for commissions, from books and stained glass window designs to tapestries and ceramics.
The cut-outs exhibit his sculptor's eye for form, and the vivid quality of colors achieved by using painted sheets of paper give the works luminosity found only in stained glass work.
The exhibition looks hard at the method and materials used to produce the cut-outs, and how they began life in the studio and then took on other forms once mounted and framed as permanent pieces for gallery exhibition.
Frigeri explained, "Towards the last 15 years of his life Matisse completely reinvented himself and invented a new technique, in which he was summing up all that he had done before in a radical new way."
The exhibition benefits from collaboration with galleries across the world, said Frigeri, and the most outstanding of the works on show are the four 'Blue Nudes', rarely shown together and displayed for the first time in Britain.
Each 'Blue Nude' features a monochrome blue silhouette of a seated female figure against a white background. Matisse worked with layers of cut-out paper and a limited palette of blue and white to establish hard-edged contours and a sculptural aspect to the figures.
The exhibition runs until September 7, after which it travels to the Museum of Modern Art in New York from October 14 to February 9, 2015.