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  • Meet The Masters

    Henri Matisse
    Henri Matisse

    French, 1869–1954

    “I don’t paint things; I only paint the difference between things.”

    Henri Matisse took up painting while recovering from appendicitis. In 1904 and 1905, he spent summers in the south of France, where the bright sunlight inspired him to create dynamic works of vibrant color, a technique known as Fauvism, setting him on a career-long path that he described as “construction by means of color.” In his later years, Matisse reinvigorated his study of color through his cutouts made from brightly painted paper for projects ranging from intimate books to wall-size works, murals, and stained glass.

    Let Matisse inspire your students to:
     - Use cut paper to create a design for a stained-glass window.
     - Paint what they can see from their classroom or bedroom window.
     - Design fabric with ink, fabric paints, and markers.
     - Use watercolors to design their own stationary, then write a letter to a friend and mail it.
     - Create a temporary mural in the classroom using paper cutouts.
     - Use tissue paper or color transparencies to create a stained-glass window, and then project it onto the wall from the overhead projector.

    Books for students:
    Matisse: The King of Color, Laurence Anholt
    Henri Matisse: Drawing with Scissors, Jessie Hartland
    Getting to Know the World’s Greatest Artists: Henri Matisse, Mike Venezia
    Artists in Their Time: Henri Matisse, Jude Welton
    When Pigasso Met Mootisse, Nina Laden

    Web resources:
    Matisse and Picasso, KERA
    Matisse Five Facts, Minneapolis Institute of Arts
    Inside Scoop: Fauves, National Gallery of Art

    Find out more from The Museum of Modern Art:
    Dance (I), gallery label text, publication excerpts, other texts
    Dance (I), audio guide
    Portrait in Seven Shades: Matisse, jazz music