“There are always flowers for those who want to see them.”
Henri Matisse was born on December 31, 1869 in France. He grew up in a small town in Northern France and came from humble origins. His father was a grain merchant and his mother ran a paint shop and sold house paints. Henri later credited his mother’s colour sense as training for his own colour choices later in life.
In 1887 he went to Paris to study law. Although he found law tedious he nonetheless passed the bar in 1888 with distinction.
Matisse discovered painting after an attack of appendicitis. His mother brought him art supplies during his recovery time and right from the start he realised that this is what he wanted to do.
Matisse was one of the leaders of the Fauvism an art movement known for paintings that expressed emotion and used unusual colours to paint their subjects. He is regarded as one of the great initiators of this modern art movement which uses bold primary colours and free, simple forms.
By the end of his life, Matisse was thoroughly interested in patterns and collage. Due to illness that confined him to a wheelchair he began to “paint with scissors.” He used bold hand painted paper cut into shapes.
Students used chalk pastels for their backgrounds and watercolours for their flowers. The leaves were made from collage paper. It was so colourful in our classrooms!