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Henri Matisse

Get ready for an explosion of color! This month's My Artist Box is all about Henri Matisse, a 20th century painter who is known for his bold use of color and pioneering work with paper cut-outs.

There are so many colors in this box: blues, pinks, greens, and more! Kids will start by learning what inspired Matisse to break with tradition and use such unexpected colors in his work. Then they'll get busy creating their own masterpieces! They'll carefully study two of Matisse's pieces and recreate their own versions. They'll also explore two new techniques: collage and symmetry. The final project is a brightly colored paper mache bowl inspired by one of Matisse's largest pieces of art.

For all works of the artist © 2022 Succession H. Matisse / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

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Activities in the Henri Matisse Box:
Les Poissons rouges (Goldfish) Mixed-Media Reproduction
This piece is the perfect example of Matisse's brilliant use of color. Orange, blue, green, yellow, pink—kids will put all of these colors to work in creating this mixed-media reproduction. Oil pastels and paint are used in the background, while tissue paper and a plastic deli sheet add dimension in the foreground.

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Goldfish Mixed-Media Reproduction
Polynésie, le ciel Cut-Outs Reproduction
In this project, kids get their first taste of Matisse's work with abstract cut-outs. They'll start by blending their own shades of blue paint for the background. Then, they'll draw doves and abstract shapes to be glued on the background. A lace border is the perfect kid-friendly stand-in for Matisse's more detailed work.

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Dove in the Sky Cut-Outs Reproduction
Collage and Symmetry Techniques
When working with cut-outs, Matisse would place and re-place the pieces of paper until they looked exactly right to him. Kids will do the same while learning these two techniques! The first project involves more abstract shapes drawn on brightly colored paper. The second project teaches kids about negative space and symmetry in art.

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Collage and Symmetry Techniques
La Gerbe (The Sheaf) Diorama
This mural collage by Matisse was installed as a ceramic wall in the home of two Los Angeles art collectors. Instead of recreating the piece in ceramic, children will use paper mache. They'll first draw and cut out large fronds or other abstract shapes. Then they'll get to work applying the glue mixture. The result? A paper mache bowl!

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La Gerbe (The Sheaf) Diorama
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