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Elementary School Docents

Hello 5th and 6th Graders,
Artists Use Texture
This artist is Henri Matisse, a French painter, who was born on the last day of December in 1869. To say his name like they do in France, say “Ahn-REE Mah-TEESS”.
Henri Matisse was first educated as a lawyer, but when he was 23 he got appendicitis and had to rest and recover for a long time, so his mother bought him some art supplies. He later said this time was “a kind of paradise”. He decided to become an artist, a choice that disappointed his father.

What a difference his change of profession made to the art world! Henri Matisse is thought of as one of the three artists who made revolutionary art developments in the early 20th century — the other two artists were Pablo Picasso and Marcel Duchamp.

Matisse loved color and used it in new ways. In fact, when he exhibited some of his early paintings people were shocked by his use of color and labeled him and his group of painters “Les Fauves” which means “The Wild Beasts.” It took a while for people to get used to this new way of painting. Matisse also did sculpture, printmaking, and cut paper art, but he is best know for his paintings.

Matisse used color and pattern to create the illusion of texture in his paintings as shown in this painting called “Purple Robe and Anemones.” Anemones are a kind of flower.

Look at the different ways he used color and pattern to show texture. What a lot of different textures there are! We see the smooth black tiled floor and the fuzzy looking gray and black rug.

One wall has bright red and yellow stripes, and the other has curving white lines on a soft color. How would the interesting vase feel if you could run your hands over it?

The woman is wearing a purple robe over print clothing. Notice how Matisse uses the curved white lines to help show the roundness of her arms and the form of her body.

The woman’s name is Lydia Delectorskya. She was a model that he made at least 90 paintings of, plus many sketches and drawings. She was also a studio assistant, organizing the models, working with art dealers, sales people, and art galleries. Later she was also his personal assistant when Matisse was old and in poor health. He died in November 1954.

© Henri Matisse
“Purple Robe and Anemones”

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