During this creative arts workshop, children will experiment painting in the style of Henri Matisse, one of the most innovative and influential artists of the 20th century.

Just like the great master, they will paint traditional subjects seeking to bring out the essence of the forms, flattening out space and using vivid saturated colors to allow the mood of their composition to emerge.

A few words on Henri Matisse

Henri Matisse was born on December 31, 1869 in Northern France and died in 1954 in Nice (Southern France).

As a young man he worked as a legal clerk and then studied for a law degree in Paris in 1887-89. He took on a position in a law office in Saint-Quentin and began taking a drawing class in the mornings before he went to work. When he was 21 years old, he was bed-ridden by an illness and spent a great deal of his time painting. This confirmed is vocation as an artist.

In 1891 Matisse moved to Paris for artistic training. He studied at the well-known Académie Julian and the École des Beaux-Arts. In addition to his academic training, he took interest in the works of the Post-Impressionnists Paul Cézanne and Vincent van Gogh.

In the mid-1890s, his work was exhibited at the traditional Salon de la Société Nationale des Beaux-Arts where it received positive attention. But by 1900, Matisse’s art was influenced by the works of the Pointillists, Georges Seurat and Paul Signac, who painted with small dots of color rather than full brushstrokes. In 1901, he exhibited at the progressive Salon des Indépendants.

A visit to Saint-Tropez in southern France in 1904 inspired him to paint vivid bright and distorted paintings,  such as “Luxe, calme et volupté (1904-05)” below. He exhibited his new style of painting at the Salon d’Automne in Paris. A contemporary art critic reviewed his work, nicknaming it “fauve”s, which means “wild beasts.”

Henri Matisse’s Luxe, calme et voluptÈ (Luxury, Calm and Pleasure) was painted in the summer of 1904 at Paul Signac.

This particular painting style was thus called Fauvism and Matisse thereby inspiring other arts, coined “Les Fauves”, continued to emphasize the emotional power of sinuous lines, intense brushwork and vivid colors in his works. He painted  moods rather than trying to depict the world realistically.

Between 1910 and 1920, his particular style was based on repeating and simplifying forms to their essence. His signature elements are saturated colors, flattened pictorial space, limited detail and strong outlines. However, the subjects of his work remain rather traditional: female nudes, scenes of his own studio and daily life, portraits of friends and family, and landscapes.

“The yellow curtain” (1915) by Henri Matisse

From 1918 to 1930, Matisse worked extensively in printmaking. Later on in his career, he received several major commissions and drew book illustrations for poetry collections.

In 1941, he was diagnosed with abdominal cancer and underwent surgery, which left him ill and often bed-ridden. However, he continued to experiment with his art, notably with “collage”, producing lively images of colored paper cutouts. In one of his final projects, Matisse created an entire program of decorations for the Chapel of the Rosary in Vence (1948-51), a town near Nice, designing stained-glass windows, murals, furnishings, and even sacred vestments for the church’s priests.

Henri Matisse The Horse, the Rider and the Clown 1943–4

Practical information

Date: Saturday 4 March 2017

Time: 14:00 to 16:30

Ages: This workshop is recommended for children from 6 to 13 years old.

Location: Atelier du Square, rue François Bonivard 4, 1201 Geneva. Click here to see map.

Fee*: CHF 55.- per child, materials and snack included, for the 2h30 workshop.

Enrolment : Please download the enrolment sheet here. Complete it and scan or take a picture of it and return to eurydice@arts-expression.ch. Payments are due on signature of the enrollment sheet. E-banking details are at the bottom of the enrollment sheet. Thank you.

Information : Eurydice Labaki, eurydice@arts-expression.ch, +41 (0) 78 696 12 45