Matisse-Inspired Collage

When Matisse was elderly and too weak to stand at his easel, he began mak­ing col­lages with cut paper, which he called “draw­ing with scissors”.

Henri Matisse, a French artist (1869–1953) known for his orig­i­nal­ity and strong use of color, was one of the most impor­tant artists of the 20th cen­tury and a leader in the mod­ern art move­ment. An art critic once labeled Matisse and his peers “Fauves” (French for “wild beasts”) after view­ing an exhibit of their work — the name “stuck” and this became the move­ment known as “Fau­vism”. Shown here is Matisse’s col­lage, “The Sor­row of the King”.

Here’s some impor­tant vocab­u­lary:
Geo­met­ric shapes
— shapes that are com­monly found in geom­e­try, such as squares, tri­an­gles and rec­tan­gles

Organic shapes — shapes that are com­monly found in nature, usu­ally with curved, irreg­u­lar lines
Pos­i­tive shape — the shape itself
Neg­a­tive shape — the area around a shape or in between shapes, where you can see the back­ground behind a shape
Repeat­ing shapes — the same shape, repeated mul­ti­ple times, often in a group­ing or mak­ing a path across the paper
Styl­ized — an image which is sim­pli­fied to the point of being abstract, but still car­ries a resem­blance of it’s orig­i­nal form


Direc­tions:
1. No pen­cils allowed! “Draw” with your scis­sors only!!
2. Cut paper shapes in a vari­ety of col­ors and sizes and arrange in a pleas­ing design on white or black back­ground paper. Include geo­met­ric, organic, pos­i­tive, and neg­a­tive shapes and at least one repeat­ing shape. (I put a list of these shapes on the board so stu­dents can tell if they’ve got them all!) Have some shapes over­lap each other. Your col­lage can rep­re­sent some­thing or just be a totally abstract design. (If you choose to use rep­re­sen­ta­tional shapes in your design, make them styl­ized rather than real­is­tic.)
3. Glue your design to the back­ground paper, the largest shapes first, then the smaller ones on top.

Help­ful tips: When­ever glu­ing, always apply the glue to the smaller piece of paper and then stick it onto the larger paper. I rec­om­mend using “YES! Paste” and a 1″ foam brush instead of a glue stick. Check out my YES! Paste” review here.


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4 Responses to Matisse-Inspired Collage

  1. Char October 4, 2009 at 5:27 pm #

    What grade level would you rec­om­mend for this Matisse inspired les­son? I tried 2nd grade and had some difficulties.

  2. Paula (Belgium) April 15, 2010 at 1:23 am #

    Matisse cut outs are so inspir­ing for kids. We kept it very easy with cut-out hands as you can see in the enclosed URL.

    Won­der­ful blog, great ideas, thanks for sharing.

  3. TeachKidsArt April 15, 2010 at 11:14 am #

    I love the cut-out hands idea! I’ll be try­ing that one!!

  4. Miss July 1, 2012 at 11:54 am #

    Great les­son and lots of good vocab­u­lary as well. Thanks for sharing!

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