Beach Lane Books, Hardcover, 9781442464841, 32pp.
Publication Date: August 27, 2013
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.
* “Masterful picture-book biographer Winter (The Watcher, 2011) offers an elegant, accessible portrait of expressive artist Henri Matisse…. As an old man, Matisse becomes ill, and the book turns a stylistic corner, spending the balance of its pages exploring the changes in his circumstances and the subsequent development of his medium and his genius. Unable to paint, he begins cutting shapes from paper and dives into the process, allowing his shapes to grow with his imagination. And the book adapts in turn, the imagery now sprawling across pages, filling the space with rich color in exuberant compositions…. With a gentle narrative dotted with quotes from the artist himself, luminous illustrations, and a warm, celebratory spirit, this exemplary picture-book biography delivers a clear, sensitive portrait of the whole man, story and soul alike.”
* "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…. 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."
“Winter captures the joy that Matisse found in cut paper, both through her acrylic and cut-paper illustrations and through quotes from his letters. The images are evocative of his art, with bright colors and rounded shapes…. The author addresses his death with a light touch…. Libraries with demand for picture-book biographies and art history will want to add this well-done title to their collections.”