Henri Mattise in Fauvism
Top 4 Facts about Henri Mattise.
- Henri Mattise was born in 1896 in France. He is famous for his very colourful paintings.
- His mother encouraged him not to follow the normal rules of art, but to try out new things and to paint his emotions.
- Mattise described art as “a kind of paradise.” ☀️
- He was one of the artists who started the Fauvism art movement.
What is Fauvism?
Coming from the French word ‘Fauve’ meaning ‘wild animals’, Fauvism was an art movement led by artists Henri Matisse and André Derain.
The Fauvists were interested in colour and which colours should sit next to each other on a canvas. You can read more about Fauvism here https://www.art-k.co.uk/6-a-kids-guide-to-modern-art-movements/
The Plum Blossoms, 1948
Museum of Modern Art, NYC
Les toits de Collioure, 1905
The Hermitage, St. Petersburg, Russia
What is His Work Like?
Mattise is best known as a painter. However, he also was a printmaker and a sculptor.
He was inspired by landscapes, portraits and still life! 🎨
Mattise focused on the colours of what he was painting. The colours are often exaggerated because he enjoyed painting colour more than detail!
Mattise sometimes used a thin amount of paint and sometimes he would use really thick paint onto a canvas to be more expressive! 🖌
He used the colours to express emotion often using colours that had nothing to do with the natural colours of the subject.
When Mattise was older, he became ill. So he spent quite a lot of time in the hospital. He struggled to draw, so instead he cut out shapes with scissors and colourful paper in his hospital bed! ✂️
In the last few years, his paper cut outs have travelled around the world and been displayed at famous museums. 🏫
Here is a quote from Mattise about how using scissors to cut out paper makes him feel: “Cutting directly into colour reminds me of a sculptor’s carving into stone.”
The Sheaf 1953
Collection University of California, Los Angeles. Hammer Museum
© Succession Henri Matisse / DACS 2013
Luxembourg Gardens, 1901
Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg, Russia
One of this most famous artworks is “The Snail.” It is a VERY big collage work. It is almost 3 metres x 3 metres! The Snail is a paper collage. Mattise cut out HUGE pieces of colourful paper and stuck them onto the canvas. 🐌
When you first look at it, you might just see colourful squares but if you keep looking, you will see it is shaped in a circle like the shall of the snail.
Another famous artwork is his painting One of Matisse’s 1905 painting Woman with a Hat. It is very colourful and uses unrealistic colours for the woman, but it is so expressive and joyful that it is very well known. 🎨
The Snail 1953
© Succession Henri Matisse/DACS 2020
Woman with a Hat, 1905.
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
Do you like Henri Mattise’s artwork?
Why not try being inspired by his work? Maybe you could try finding an object to draw at home and really exaggerate the colours. You could use colouring pencils, watercolours or paints! 🖍️
If you do try out some colourful artwork inspired by Mattise, we would love to see it! Send your photos to firstname.lastname@example.org
Do you want to know what comes before Fauvism? Click here to read about Impressionism?
And click here for a book about Henri Mattise’s Paper Cut Outs!