Matisse's Paper Cut-outs

Hello Art families!

Welcome to another week of Art History with Miss T. I love this week! It is Matisse week, and we have a really good project for it. Although Matisse is a very diverse artist, I thought I would go with a project that touched on works that he did in the last decade of his life.

Matisse was a French artist born in 1869 and he died in 1954. He was initially considered a "Fauvist" or "Wild Beast" but was also upheld as a master of the traditional French painting style. He was important during the Impressionistic and Post-Impressionistic periods. His primary medium was paint, but he was also considered a master draftsman, sculpture, and in his final years he used paper and cut-outs to express himself artistically. He felt this was his best works.

Before art, he went to law school and worked as a law clerk but decided to switch to the arts after a bout of appendicitis brought him to the easel. While in recovery, his mother brought him an easel and paints to pass the time and there is where he found his true love of the arts.

Below is a reading of the children's book A Bird or Two by Bijou Le Tord. I love this book. It is a great read for kids of all ages. It talks about his art in a fun and wholesome way.

This is a video of's website display of Matisse's cut-outs. It discusses his process and I take the kids through the page and talk about each phase of his cut-out process. There are a lot of interesting facts here. It will probably not hold the attention on the younger students, but informative for older kiddo's.

This final video is the recorded lesson. It is the same for all ages. I just suggest making your cut-out shapes as difficult as you wish. For my younger students, I would suggest making simple organic shapes that will be easy for them to cut and if you choose to fold the paper to cut several at once, limit the amount of layers for the younger students. Remember, they may have trouble cutting through several layers and we do not want them to be discouraged.

This lesson is a painted paper and cut-out lesson. It is very fun and can get messy if you choose paints. I will use paper and paint. You may use just colored paper and scissors if you want to skip the paint. That is okay. We are mainly looking for cutting paper into organic shapes and spot gluing them onto the background to form a composition that is pleasing to the eye. We will learn positive and negative space along with contrast and emphasis. I hope you have a lot of fun with this and I can not wait to see these!!

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