History of paintings is often the story of a craze, which, mysteriously, affects an entire group of artists. This was the case for blue – Chagall, Picasso, Klein or Matisse; many found there a hue to celebrate. Matisse made cobalt blue his iconic signature when, in the late 1940s, the French painter turned almost exclusively to cut-outs. This Blue Nude II is one of a series of four composed at the end of his life. By celebrating here women's sensuality, Matisse also reached the perfect synthesis between form and colour, something he had been looking for to achieve since he started painting. “Cutting into colour reminds me of the sculptor's direct carving” – with such an economy of means, Matisse achieved to pass on to future generations an abstract of the joy of life.