Henri Matisse

Henri Matisse

 French painter, collage artist 1869-1954

“Another word for creativity is courage.”  Matisse.

Matisse was born in the north of France, and unlike many artists, he showed no interest in art at a young age. While studying to become a lawyer, he had an attack of appendicitis. While recovering at home in bed, his mother bought him a watercolor set. Ultimately, he left law school to attend an art academy in Paris full time. He is known for his early impressionist paintings, as well as Fauvism, a style who’s origin comes from an art critic’s comment about one of Matisse’s paintings, calling him a ‘fauve’ or ‘wild beast’. His late cut-out works came about after a cancer diagnosis when he was too ill to stand at an easel. He had assistants paint large pieces of paper, which he would cut out and direct his assistants to place on the walls of his studio. These works were inspired by his love of jazz music, the circus, plant and sea life.

About the project: Having learned about geometric and organic shapes, warm and cool colors, the students will then assemble a paper collage using a geometric background in either warm or cool colors, and then an organic top layer using a different set of warm or cool colors.

Classroom Presentation Materials


Restoring Matisse’s “Swimming Pool

CBS Sunday Morning: “Matisse’s Cut-outs”


Carnegie Picture Lab is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that focuses on art eduction in Walla Walla valley schools. Read more about CPL here .