This was one of Matisse’s last and largest works composed originally using the paper-cut techniques. Matisse had surgery for colon cancer in 1941 that left him bedridden and unable to stand at his easel for long periods of time. Instead of painting, Matisse would cut out forms from colored paper and his assistant would later paste them into their final positions in the composition. For a ceramic work, such as Apollo, these paper cut outs were transferred to ceramic tile with each step in this process being carefully supervised by Matisse. The abstract leaf-forms explode from the center, contained by two curved lines and two pillars. The entire scene is presided over by a plain, mask-like, face who is crowned by a sun. This being seems to be an homage to the Greco Roman Sun G/d for whom the work is named.

Original Medium: ceramic tile, ground marble, and plaster

Original Size: 131 1/2 x 167 1/2 in.


Location: Toledo Museum of Art