Step into the colorful world of Henri Matisse and his magnificent paper cutouts!
In a small weaving town in France, a young boy named Henri-Emile Matisse drew pictures everywhere, and when he grew up, he moved to Paris and became a famous artist who created paintings that were adored around the world. But late in life a serious illness confined him to a wheelchair, and amazingly, it was from there that he created among his most beloved works—enormous and breathtaking paper cutouts.
Based on the life of Henri Matisse, this moving and inspirational picture book biography includes a note from the author, dynamic quotes from Matisse himself, and an illuminating look at a little-known part of a great artist’s creative process.
After quickly tracing French painter Matisse's journey to becoming an artist ("He was happy, and his paintings made people happy") and explaining how illness left him unable to paint at the end of his life, Winter (Kali's Song) describes his discovery of a medium less physically demanding than painting but just as expressive: painted paper and scissors. "Why didn't I think of it earlier?" he asks delightedly. Simple, folk-style paintings show Matisse in a wheelchair in a studio amid his collages; in a quiet visual cue, a plant with oversize leaves suggests inspiration for their big, organic shapes. He continues to create until his death, another moment Winter handles gracefully: "The rainbow of shapes cradled the old artist and carried him into the heavens." Old age can be fertile and useful, Winter implies; disability doesn't mean the end of creating, and triumph is possible where only sadness could have been foreseen. All of these messages lie obliquely in the text, but even readers who don't dig that deep will share Matisse's joy. Ages 5 8.