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“My second life”: Matisse

“My Second Life” 

 “Only what I created after my illness constitutes my real self: free, liberated.”

At the end of the Second War – in his 70’s, weak from major surgery, ill and dying with cancer, confined to a wheel chair, separated from his wife, his daughter a victim of torture in the war, and having lost his entire life’s work, Matisse retired to his bedroom. To refuse to live and to die?…Or? 



With scissors, paper, pins… for the next 12 years one room became the place where he lived and worked, where he slept and dreamed and where, when awaking, he found himself in the midst of his work.



“Be Heard, Be Touched, be Free”

matisse tree 

And the inspiration for The Cat and the Listening Tree



In 1951, Matisse completed a monumental four-year project of designing the interior, the glass windows and the decorations of the Chapelle du Rosaire in Vence. The project was the result of the close friendship between Matisse and Sister Jacques-Marie. What was created horrified the Catholic hierarchy and also the anti-religious contemporary art world. Picasso is said to have recommended that Matisse should decorate a brothel instead.  

The cat walks in and curls up in the warm under the ‘Tree of Life’ window, ready to listen to all our stories – Be Heard, Be Touched, Be Free.