Matisse Cut-Outs

Henri Matisse, 1869-1954
Polynésie, la mer, 1946, paper cut-outs painted in gouache glued on paper on canvas, 196 x 314 cm, Musée National d’Art Moderne, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris

Henri Matisse once said… “There is no interruption between my older paintings and my Cut-Outs. Just that with an increasing sense of the absolute, and more abstraction, I have achieved a form that is simplified to its essence.” My students love Matisse Cut-Outs!

It all started back in the late 1940s when scissors assisted Matisse in turning almost exclusively to cut paper as his primary creative medium and thus… initiate his unique and famous Cut-Outs. There is something magical about Matisse’s Cut-Outs… they offer us such pure, candid, unreserved joy, our life, just by looking at them, becomes gratifying and amusing!

‘It was like drawing, but with scissors… there was sensuality in the cutting’
Henri Matisse on the Cut-Outs
Matisse working at the Hôtel Régina, Nice, c. 1952 on The Parakeet and the Mermaid
© Hélène Adant – Centre Pompidou – Mnam – Bibliothèque Kandinsky – Hélène Adant
https://www.tate.org.uk/tate-etc/issue-31-summer-2014/it-was-drawing-scissors-there-was-sensuality-cutting

“Matisse would cut painted sheets into forms of varying shapes and sizes—from the vegetal to the abstract—which he then arranged into lively compositions, striking for their play with colour and contrast, their exploitation of decorative strategies, and their economy of means. Initially, these compositions were of modest size but, over time, their scale grew along with Matisse’s ambitions for them, expanding into a mural or room-size works. A brilliant final chapter in Matisse’s long career, the cut-outs reflect both a renewed commitment to form and colour and an inventiveness directed to the status of the work of art, whether as a unique object, environment, ornament, or a hybrid of all of these.”    https://www.moma.org/calendar/exhibitions/1429?locale=en

Henri Matisse, 1869-1954
Large Decoration with Masks, 1953, Gouache on paper, cut and pasted, and ink on canvas, 35360 x 9964 mm, National Gallery of Art, Washington
https://www.tate.org.uk/tate-etc/issue-30-spring-2014/his-brilliant-final-chapter

Matisse is a favourite artist among my students and I always enjoy teaching a Unit on his life achievements, culminating with his amazing Cut-Outs!  Whether I teach Grade 1 Mythology, Grade 4 Cultural Geography, or High School Art History, Matisse’s Cut-Outs are always there to enrich my curriculum in the most remarkable way. Getting a taste of their fascinating stories, my students “read” them, in ways, appropriate to their level, they are always 100% engaged … and my teaching gets to be more than gratifying!

Student Work on a Matisse Cut-Outs RWAP (by Haylee M.)

Matisse Cut-Outs Lesson Plan

Essential Questions: What conditions, attitudes, and behaviours encouraged Matisse to take creative risks?

Goals: Facilitate students to understand and connect Matisse’s use of Colour from Fauvism to the Cut-Outs.

Enduring Understanding: Henri Matisse was a French painter in the early 20th century, known as one of the founders of Fauvism, an art movement that is identified with the emotional and bold use of colour,  and the creator of the Cut-Outs technique.

Steps to Success  

At first, I Introduce the Lesson to my students and present the Essential Questions we will work on. Then, I show a Youtube Video on Matisse’s Cut-Outs (Here is my favourite    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rLgSd8ka0Gs) and Being Inquisitive I initiate a conversation. The Lesson continues with my PowerPoint, more discussion follows and the Unit on Matisse’s Cut-Outs culminates with students achieving an Enduring Understanding of our Lesson and performing an Assessment Activity.

For my Matisse PowerPoint, please… Check HERE!

The student RWAP (RWAP stands for Research-Writing-Art-Project) is… HERE!

Student Work on Matisse Cut-Out RWAP, please… Check HERE!

Student Work on a Matisse Cut-Outs RWAP (by Kalypso I.)

Virtual Spanish Weekend

Toledo now and by El Greco!

A dear former student of mine, Juan N., a young doctor, is fighting Covid 19 in Spain so that we can all stay Safe… at HOME! My weekend proposal is to have a… Virtual Spanish weekend… Visit Toledo… Meet El Greco… and send positive vibes to Juan…

Pythagoras of Samos once said that… Do not seek for happiness. It is always within yourself. During COVID 19 Days, happiness is so close… It’s our family and friends and Art within us all…

We may not be able to travel to Spain right now… but we can do it Virtually! Stay in the comfort of your HOME! Snack on something deliciously SPANISH! …and ACTION!

Let’s travel to Toledo

and …meet El Greco! the Cretan artist of the Renaissance who chose Toledo as his final destination of artistic voyaging and exploration. El Greco, born Domenikos Theotokopoulos, the precursor of both Expressionism and Cubism, was so unique, scholars believe his art belongs to a no conventional school.

Toledo, Spain: The Art of El Greco https://www.museodelprado.es/en/the-collection/artist/el-greco-domenikos-theotokopoulos/b031da57-6a7e-43f2-a855-293275efc340

Explore El Greco in the Prado Museum with lots of valuable information and multimedia references https://www.museodelprado.es/en/the-collection/artist/el-greco-domenikos-theotokopoulos/b031da57-6a7e-43f2-a855-293275efc340

El Greco, View of Toledo, famous painting in the MET, New  York https://www.khanacademy.org/partner-content/metropolitan-museum/82nd-and-fifth/nature/v/my-first-time

Movie Time in Spain …and more ACTION!

El Cid is a 1961 epic historical drama film that romanticizes the life of the Christian Castilian knight Don Rodrigo Díaz de Vivar, called “El Cid” (from the Arabic as-sidi, meaning “The Lord”), who, in the 11th century, fought the North African Almoravides and ultimately contributed to the unification of Spain. The film stars Charlton Heston in the title role and Sophia Loren as Doña Ximena. https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0054847/

The story of the uncompromising artist, Domenikos Theotokopoulos, known to the world as El Greco. Based on the fictionalized biographical movie, El Greco: the Painter of God, it was released in 2007. https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0905329/

Life and events of the man who realized one of the most important discoveries of the 19th century: Altamira’s Caves and its Paleolithic Paintings. The film chronicles the groundbreaking discovery of stone age cave paintings in the Cave of Altamira in Cantabria, Spain, and the subsequent controversy by leading religious and scientific figures of the day. https://www.imdb.com/title/tt3014910/

SNACKS …Español style! Tapas ideas everybody will… love! https://www.bbc.co.uk/food/collections/tapas

For the original document, please… click HERE!

A Roy Lichtenstein Trilogy

Roy Lichtenstein (Textile) Lee Rudd Simpson, Sunrise Dress, 1965, white satin one-piece dress, silk-screen print by Roy Lichtenstein, Kyoto Costume Institute
Roy Lichtenstein, Sunrise, 1965, Enamel on steel, One from an edition of five, 57.5 × 91.5 cm, Basil & Elise Goulandris Foundation, Athens
Roy Lichtenstein, Sinking Sun, 1964, oil and magna on canvas, 68 x 80 in. 172.7 x 203.2 cm, private collection

A Roy Lichtenstein Trilogy is about the artist’s 1965 fascination with landscapes depicting the Sun. In 1964, Lichtenstein started experimenting with Landscapes, exploring aspects of the Sea and the Sky, including his famous painting of the Sinking Sun. His explorations were in various media, including paintings, enamel on metal, like the example exhibited in the Basil &Elise Goulandris Foundation, drawings, collages and Lithographs.

In a 1967 Interview with John Coplans, Roy Lichtenstein reflected on his Sinking Sun painting: “There is something humorous about doing a sunset in a solidified way, especially the rays, because a sunset has little or no specific form. It is like the explosions. It’s true that they may have some kind of form at any particular moment, but they are never really perceived as defined shape… It makes something ephemeral completely concrete.” (Lichtenstein interviewed by John Coplans cited in Exh. Cat., Pasadena, Art Museum, Roy Lichtenstein, 1967)

Roy Lichtenstein, Sinking Sun, 1964, oil and magna on canvas, 68 x 80 in. 172.7 x 203.2 cm, private collection

Lichtenstein’s Sunrise at the Basil & Elise Goulandris Foundation in Athens is a fine example of his 60’ turn to Landscape representations. A leading figure in 20th century American Pop Art, Roy Lichtenstein used comic book representation and advertising imagery to further enhance his quest for visual perception. The Goulandris’s Sunrise of 1965, enamel on metal, rich texture, improves upon his hard-edged, Pop stylized landscape imagery and heightens the Pop Art Culture. His colour palette, reduced to the three primary colours of red, yellow and blue reminds us of what the artist has said: “I use colour in the same way as a line. I want it oversimplified – anything that could be vaguely red becomes red. It is mock insensitivity. Actual colour adjustment is achieved through manipulation of size, shape and juxtaposition”.  (Roy Lichtenstein interviewed by G. R. Swenson cited in Exh. Cat., London, Tate Gallery, Roy Lichtenstein, 1968)

Roy Lichtenstein, Sunrise, 1965, Enamel on steel, One from an edition of five, 57.5 × 91.5 cm, Basil & Elise Goulandris Foundation, Athens
https://goulandris.gr/en/artwork/lichtenstein-roy-sunrise

The Roy Lichtenstein Trilogy comes to an end with the Sunrise Dress! now in the Kyoto Costume Institute. It “…caused a stir when worn by Lichtenstein’s friend, Letty Lou Eisenhauer, to the opening of the artist’s 1965 exhibition at the Galerie Ileana Sonnabend in Paris.” The Sunrise dress was accompanied by a simple white coat, “a wearable work of art…the dress being the painting and the coat… a simple white cover-up, concealing the painting until its time to be revealed, for the utmost dramatic effect!” https://www.kci.or.jp/en/archives/digital_archives/1960s/KCI_242?fbclid=IwAR0mjI__BNzqkPN-WUOA-SVQ4OVndv7-gIQk5bJ6WNKx44RLE427hUguvnE

Roy Lichtenstein (Textile) Lee Rudd Simpson, Sunrise Dress, 1965, white satin one-piece dress, silk-screen print by Roy Lichtenstein, Kyoto Costume Institute

The Basil & Elise Goulandris Foundation in Athens provides an interesting Audio Guide for their visitors… https://goulandris.gr/en/artwork/lichtenstein-roy-sunrise

For a Roy Lichtenstein PowerPoint, please… check HERE!

The Flight

Georges Braque, 1882 – 1963, Essor (The Flight) I, 1961, Coloured Lithograph on Arches paper, 31/100, 48 × 65.5 cm, Published by Adrien Maeght, Paris, Basil & Elise Goulandris Foundation, Athens
https://goulandris.gr/el/artwork/braque-georges-flight-1

There is a small Georges Braque Lithograph, at the Basil & Elise Goulandris Foundation in Athens, titled The Flight. It caught my attention and my thoughts ran wild. I saw a soft lilac bird run, a heavy black duck dancing and a white bird, beautifully outlined over the black one, fly… away! It reminded me of Nietzsche’s idea of …dancing before flying and I felt good, content and accomplished. Please don’t ask why, this small Lithograph felt like a monumental accomplishment, like steps to freedom.

For George Braque, experimenting with the motif of birds in flight, started in1949 and never ended. He even visited the famous bird sanctuary in Camargue, in the south of France. This experience, as you can read, broadened his interest in birds flying, and led to his “metamorphose” bird motif “afresh.”

“One summer, few years ago, I was in the Camargue. I saw some huge birds flying above the waters. From that vision I derived aerial forms. Birds have inspired me, and I try to make the best use of them that I can in my paintings. While they interest me as living animal species, I have to burry in my memory their natural functions as birds. This concept, even after the shock of inspiration which has brought them to life in my mind, must be deleted, so that I can draw closer to my essential preoccupation: the construction of pictorial art. Painting alone must impose its presence on what relates to it, and metamorphose it afresh; everything that goes to make up the picture must be integrated in this presence, and must efface itself before it.”

More on Braque’s fascination with Birds, “Apropos another bird painting, Braque talked to me about his visits to the Camargue, where our mutual friend the ornithologist Lukas Hoffmann… had established a vast bird reserve, La Tour du Valat. …Braque told me how the apparition of a heron flying low above the marshes had inspired his large 1955 Bird Returning to Its Nest, of all the late paintings the one that meant the most to him. Maybe because I shared his feelings for the Camargue, Braque gave me an oil study for this haunting work. I remember him saying how, on still, grey days, the sky seemed to reflect the lagoons rather than the other way round, and the birds seemed to swim through the air… ”

The Art Book Tradition in Twentieth-Century Europe, Edited by Kathryn Brown, Tilburg University, The Netherlands, 2013 by Ashgate Publishing, page 54 https://books.google.gr/books?id=zEMrDwAAQBAJ&pg=PA54&lpg=PA54&dq=Braque+and+Camargue&source=bl&ots=sLPlE6IiJu&sig=ACfU3U29l5ZOfxZgXeBAxTBGDRKti-F73g&hl=el&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwigrvj2lcLmAhVNKuwKHZkyDkIQ6AEwAXoECAkQAQ#v=onepage&q=Braque%20and%20Camargue&f=false

Inside the Artist Studio of Georges Braque by John Richardson, November 13, 2019, The Sorcerer’s Apprentice. Copyright © 1999 by John Richardson Fine Arts Ltd. Published by Knopf on November 12th with a new introduction by Jed Perl https://lithub.com/inside-the-artist-studio-of-georges-braque/

A PowerPoint of my favourite paintings of Birds and Flying, by George Braque… HERE!