Lesson 10: Matisse and Fauvist Style
Students will explore the Fauvist use of color and texture in collage with the simplistic "primitive style" of a face painted in black outline.
To have students explore the Fauvist use of color and texture in collage with the simplistic "primitive style" of a face painted in black outline.
images of the following Matisse paintings: Marguerite, Portrait of Mme Matisse, Poster for Le Bal de l'ecole des Arts Decoratifs 1951, paper of various kinds, styles, colors and weights; scissors; glue and brushes suitable for glue; watercolors; oil pastels; pastels; black acrylic paint; larger brushes (½ inch) for painting the face; large poster board or tag board for background support
SET UP AND PREPARE
1. Search online for an image of Poster for Le Bal de l'ecole des Arts Decoratifs 1951 to share with students.
2. Discuss where students see color and pattern. Explain the concepts of collage and the methods of applying glue to the paper surface smoothly as well as layering paper to create smooth surfaces.
3. Ask students for words that represent feelings (happy, sad, angry, confused, quiet, frantic, etc.). Have students make a list of the words in their journals or sketch pads. Ask them to place a color next to each word that best represents the feeling in their mind. Share the colors and feelings with the classroom through discussion, helping students realize that color can have many meanings.
4. Have students look at the simple lines that Matisse uses to create his faces. Explain that the child-like lines were a new approach from an established artist. Discuss how the simple, pure lines created without specific "realistic" reference to a real image were the desired effect. Explain that Matisse wanted to elevate that childlike simple drawing of a face to perfection.
5. Share with students that while Picasso was exploring and defining the Cubist movement and style, Henri Matisse was exploring emotion and color. He created a style of art that used bright, bold colors and patterns with great energy. His work and those of others who followed his ideas were not liked by the critics. One critic said the paintings looked like "wild beasts" had painted them. The French word for wild beast is fauve. Matisse and those who used color with wild energy were called Fauvists. Their artwork focused on expressing feelings through color and patterns.
Matisse was a talented artist, painter, and sculptor who worked in many media, including collage. He was noted for his paper cutouts, completed at the end of his life.
Matisse's work is categorized in several styles. He was also part of a "primitive" movement, which used line drawing that looked like a child had painted them. He combined this simplistic style with the concept of collage.
1. Have students look at themselves in a mirror. Ask them to locate and observe the predominant features of their face (eyes, nose, mouth, shape of face). Have them do a simple sketch of their face omitting details like eyelashes or strands of hair. Emphasize the need for only the basic features of head, eyes, nose and mouth and perhaps the outline shape of their hair. Have them create three or four drawings in this manner, tilting their head to change the views.
2. Have paper scraps and a variety of papers on hand (origami, rice, wall paper, wrapping paper, as well as white and colored construction paper). Have students engage in cutting positive and negative shaped cutouts of simple geometric shapes or organic shapes. Set them aside.
3. Give students the opportunity to select pieces of textured or patterned paper and have them cut them into mid-size shapes. Set them aside.
Give students time to explore the concept of color without shape or form on paper with oil pastels, watercolors, or pastels. When these hand-created papers of color are ready to be handled, have students cut shapes of different sizes.
4. On a large 18"x24" posterboard or tagboard, ask students to arrange their colored pieces and cut pieces in a collage. Encourage them to let the colors they use represent a feeling or series of feelings. Remind students to glue their compositions down securely, smoothing out wrinkles and bubbles.
5. Allow students to add to the collage with additional areas of color or patterns as they like, noting that Matisse often left some areas of the work white and untouched, and this helped the viewer focus on the colors and textures.
6. When the collage is dry, ask students to paint a simple outline of a face that represents the feelings of the colors and patterns they glued on the collage. Use a wide brush and black acrylic paint to paint the faces. Have students review the sketches they made earlier.
7. Display all student work and discuss the feelings of each work. Allow students to explain their process of creation. Ask, How is this different from Picasso's work with portraits? How is it the same?
Which style did they find more comfortable? Why?
Ask students if they felt like "wild beasts" when using color and patterns.
1. Write a story or poem about the face and the collage; tell its story.
2. Use Matisse's style of art to create posters for an event at your school.