In the case of this artwork, which was given the generic title of Panel with Mask, we find a series of organic shapes which fill up five different sections. The top row is filled with green and red, with a complex arrangements of shapes then spreading right across. Below are two rows, each with two blocks of colour again, and each of those has their own symbol. The shapes resemble simple plants, similar to leaves or perhaps marine plants. They each have a different contrast of colour, so that the overall piece is particularly bright and contemporary. In some cases the shapes are cut-outs, whilst in other cases Matisse actually uses the paper that was left, in a use of negative space. He worked this way in part due to his failing health which stopped him from using other mediums that would have been more physically demanding. His cut outs were highly original and persuaded many as to the potential merits of these techniques, which previously that may well have regarded out of hand.
The artist would play a major role in the rise of modern art across the 20th century, with many later artists following on and taking some elements from his career into their own. It seemed that finally some of these contemporary ideas were being accepted, and that a new, more open minded art world now existed. If we look at this particular piece today it could almost be something produced by a digital illustrator, but for someone to create it by hand using scissors more than half a century ago is what makes it so special. It is important to understand timing when reviewing the work of different artists, as innovation is a key part of what helped them to become so respected. It is people like Matisse who challenged norms of their time in order to allow others to work more freely today.
Matisse remains regarded as highly knowledgeable in the use of colour, and was able to deliver bright scenes where colours complemented each other perfectly. Many would not have tried these combinations, but somehow Matisse was able to make them work. It took him time to transition from the traditional styles which he came across during his education towards the methods that were more his own choice. This is entirely common across most artist's careers, as they take time to build confidence before starting to be able to produce precisely what they want to. In some cases they also might be restricted early on by patron's requests, before later having the respect in place to be given a greater level of autonomy.