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Henri Matisse 1869 - 1954

Pictures in the style of Matisse

Henri Matisse

This week's artist is a great example of resilience and adapting to the situation you find yourself in. There were two key times of illness in his life and the second was the creation of a new style of art which he is best known for. His use of vibrant colours to recreate an external world he could no longer visit can act as inspiration to us all - please just be careful with those scissors.


Henri Matisse was born on December 31st, 1869 and grew up in northern France where he worked hard at school. He studied law in Paris and in 1888 became a law clerk. However, in 1889 he became ill with appendicitis. Whilst he was recovering in bed, he developed a love of painting and art which led to him leaving his career in Law.


He studied Art in Paris and learnt about impressionism art including the work of Van Gogh and Cezanne. His first painting The Dinner Table was inspired by their work.


In the early 1900s he changed his style of painting with lots of bright colours used in unusual ways so that it expressed emotion rather than looking real. His painting Woman with a Hat was an example of this and the style of painting became known as Fauvism - the wild beasts.


Between 1908 and 1911 he ran a small art school in Paris called Academie Matisse.


After surgery, Matisse was ill and confined first to his bed then to his house in a wheelchair. This led him to change his style of work completely and he began to cut out paper to make collages. He was inspired by nature and created gardens with birds in and he also had a team of painters to paint white paper with gouache which he cut up and then experimented with where to place the cut outs. His pictures often give the impression of an animal without looking exactly like one - there are videos of the exhibition of his work at The Tate in 2014. 


To create your own work in the style of Matisse use whatever you can find in your house - paper or fabric try and make it as bright as possible. Cut out different shapes and let your paper do the drawing instead of a pencil. Experiment with where to put the pieces until you like the combination and glue them down. In the Easter holidays you may want to make a Matisse style Easter egg.


Email your creations to and we will add them to the website.

Aspiration, Inspiration, Motivation, Aim High