HENRI MATISSE 1869-1954 France


Henri Matisse was a French artist known for his use of color and his brilliant use of line. He discovered art when his mother brought him supplies during a period of convalescence from an illness. He said, “From the moment I held the box of colors in my hands, I knew this was my life. I threw myself into it like a beast that plunges towards the thing it loves.” Matisse’s mother was the first to advise her son not to adhere to the “rules” of art, but rather listen to his own emotions. He once declared that he wanted his art to be one "of balance, of purity and serenity. Henri Matisse is widely regarded as the greatest colorist of the twentieth century. Scholars have described Matisse as a precursor of Abstract Expressionism and major influence on much of modern art.

He was heavily influenced by art from other cultures-, incorporating Asian art, Moroccan design and colors , Islamic art, African sculpture, and Japanese prints into his own style. Matisse is a great example of a person that was not defined by limitations and circumstances. Wheelchair bound and unable to continue painting, paper cut-outs became his major medium in the final decade of his life. He first used the technique in 1919 doing designs for the Le chant du Rossignol, an Opera made by Igor Stravinsky , and in 1938, while working on the stage sets for Diaghilev's Ballets Russes.He moved to the hilltop of Vence in 1943, where he produced his first major cut-out project for his artist's book titled" Jazz", which inspired numerous other projects and works of art using the technique. Ever evolving and adapting, Matisse said, “An artist must never be a prisoner of himself, prisoner of a style, prisoner of a reputation, or prisoner of success…"

 Week One: Cave Paintings

It has been an eventful week in our Art Literacy class. We have been all around the world.  I would like to thank all of my wonderful students for their great efforts. We began with the story of the discovery of the discovery of cave paintings in Lascaux,  France  and also looked at images from  Spain , where the oldest known cave paintings have been found,  in the cave called El Castillo. The prehistoric dots and crimson hand stencils are now the world's oldest known cave art that dates more than 40,800 years old.

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