Explore Artists

Paint with Scissors like Henri Matisse

Yes, that is what Henri Matisse called his work, “Painting with scissors”. Matisse worked on colourful paper and a pair of scissors to create cutouts of different shapes, animals, dancers, leaves and flowers and then arrange them beautifully to design his composition.

Henri Matisse

Henri Matisse was a French artist born in 1869 in Northern France. His artistic career spanned over six decades and he worked in almost all media including painting, sculpture, and printmaking. He was introduced to Impressionism and the versatile art of Van Gogh.

Matisse loved painting portraits and still life. He painted his first masterpiece in 1897. It was called “The Dinner Table”. Later, when he was in his sixties, he began to experiment with cut outs. In the last decade of his career, he created almost 200 cutouts, some even covering an entire wall.

Here we will explore his papiere découpée or his paper cutouts. Matisse freely cut vibrant coloured paper into different shapes and sizes. Some were cut big and bold and others were small and intricate. He then arranged these shapes and recombined them to create a composition he loved. Many a time, he created shapes which looked similar but they were all different. Sometimes he cut shapes of paper which made it look as if they were jumping and dancing.  It reflected his thoughts and approach to life. As he said “He who loves, flies, runs and rejoices… is free, nothing holds them back”.  Matisse is one of the most loved artists of the 20th century.

Art project in style of Henri Matisse

We will create a paper collage inspired by Henri Matisse.

You would need

  • Colored paper – You can paint sheets of paper with acrylic paints just as you did for Eric Carle
  • Scissors and glue

Children of ages should try this style.

Take sheets of paper and cut them into any shape you want. See some shapes that Matisse made, the zigzags, curves and the spirals. Try one of your own. Then place them on paper. Matisse used to pin his cutouts at different positions and rearrange them till he loved the order. So lay them, overlap, use complementary colours. Do not use pre-cut paper. Cut the papers as you compose.

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