"It is not enough to place colors, however beautiful, one beside the other; colors must also react on one another. " - Matisse
First and second grade artists made "shape collections" inspired by Matisse's paper cut outs.
About Henri Matisse
Henri Matisse grew up in the northern part of France. His father was a grain merchant and strict with Henri. He went to school in Paris and studied law. In 1888 he passed the bar and took a job as a law clerk.
Becoming a Painter
In 1889 Henri came down with appendicitis. During his recovery his mother got him some art supplies for something to do. He fell in love with painting and art. He decided he wanted to become an artist. His father was very disappointed.
Henri began to explore painting. His mother encouraged him not to follow the normal rules of art, but to try out new things and to paint his emotions.
In 1897, Matisse was introduced to impressionism and to the work of van Gogh. It opened up a new world to Matisse.
Matisse painted his first masterpiece in 1897. It was called The Dinner Table. He continued to paint being influenced by artists such as van Gogh and Cezanne. He studied the works of J.M.W. Turner as well and even took on some of the style of Pointillism from Seurat.
In the early 1900s Matisse developed a new style. He began to paint with bright masses of colors that were freely applied. He used the colors to express emotion often using colors that had nothing to do with the natural colors of the subject. One critic called them "fauves", which meant "wild beasts". The name stuck and their style of art was called Fauvism.
In his later years, Matisse began to experiment with cutouts. He would cut out colored paper and make collages. He released a book of these cutouts called Jazz that was very popular. Some of his cutouts have become famous pieces of artwork including The Blue Nude, The Knife Thrower, and Icarus.
Matisse is considered one of the founders of Fauvism art. He is also considered one of the leading figures of modern art as his paintings and art influenced many artists throughout the 20th century.
Interesting Facts about Matisse:
- He was good friends with artist Pablo Picasso. They later became rivals.
- Major patrons of Matisse included Americans Gertrude Stein and the Cone Sisters. They purchased a number of his paintings. He also introduced them to Picasso, whose paintings they also purchased.
- He ran a small art school called Academie Matisse in Paris between 1908 and 1911.
- Some of his paintings have sold for over $20 million.
- Movie star Al Pacino is set to play the role of Henri Matisse in a movie called Masterpiece.
Children looking at Matisse's work at the Tate Museum
Footage of Matisse Making his Paper Cut Outs