If you’re in or near London in the next six months, get thyself to the Tate Modern, for a brand new Henry Matisse exhibition, opening this Thursday. Henri Matisse: The Cut-Outs brings together over 130 colorful works by the famous impressionist, including four never-before-seen blue nudes.

"This kind of show just doesn't happen more than once in a lifetime," Tate director and co-curator Sir Nicholas Serota said for The Guardian. "This is the largest show of this body of works and contains most of the major works."

Indeed, this is an exhibition of firsts. It will be the first big Matisse exhibition to focus on his paper cutouts, as well as the first time the blue nudes have been displayed together in the UK. This is also the first time that a prized Matisse cutout The Snail, is to leave the country. It will travel to New York in October – a measure of the importance of the exhibition.

The cutouts come from a later period in Matisse’s life. He began making them , between 1937-54. The current exhibition brings together 130 vibrantly coloured pieces, more than any before, and explores how and why Matisse began to make work in a new way so late in life. It is based on the premise that the artist used simple techniques – paper, scissors, glue – to create groundbreaking and meaningful work. The exhibition opens on Thursday.

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