Matisse, The Snail
© Succession H Matisse/DACS 2010
The Snail (1952-1953)
By the time that Matisse created The Snail, he was 83 years old and confined to his bed. This semi-abstract work, based on the swirl of a snail shell, was made with the help of assistants who painted bits of paper in colours chosen by Matisse which the artist would then arrange.
The work is large, nearly three metres square, and showcases Matisse's brilliance at harmonising disparate colours and shapes so that the blocks of colour appear to float, as though always in motion.