Lives of Artists: Masterpieces, Messes (and What the Neighbors Thought)

By Kathleen Krull, Illustrated by Kathryn Hewitt

Most people can name some famous artists and recognize their best-known works. But what’s behind all the painting, drawing, and sculpting? What was Leonardo da Vinci’s snack of choice while he painted Mona Lisa’s mysterious smile? Why did Georgia O’Keeffe find bones so appealing? Who called Diego Rivera “Frog-Face”? And what is it about artists that makes both their work and their lives so fascinating?

The Fantastic Jungle of Henri Rousseau

By Michelle Markel, Illustrated by Amanda Hall

Henri Rousseau wanted to be an artist. But he had no formal training. Instead, he taught himself to paint. He painted until the jungles and animals and distant lands in his head came alive on his canvases. He endured the harsh critics of his day and created the brilliant paintings that now hang in museums around the world. 

Matisse’s Garden

By Samantha Friedman, Illustrated by Christina Amodeo

One day, the French artist Henri Matisse cut a small bird out of a piece of paper. It looked lonely all by itself, so he cut out more shapes to join it. Before he knew it, Matisse had transformed his walls into larger-than-life gardens, filled with brightly colored plants, animals, and shapes of all sizes.

My Name is Georgia

A Portrait by Jeanette Winter

From the time she was just a young girl, Georgia O’Keeffe viewed the world in her own way. While other girls played with toys and braided their hair, Georgia practiced her drawing and let her hair fly free. As an adult, Georgia followed her love of art from the steel canyons of New York City to the vast plains of New Mexico. There she painted all day, and slept beneath the stars at night. Throughout her life Georgia O’Keeffe followed her dreams and so found her way to become a great American artist.

Rembrandt and the Boy Who Drew Dogs: A Story About Rembrandt van Rijn

By Molly Blaisdell and Nancy Lane

Author Molly Blaisdell transports young readers to the city of Amsterdam in the 1650s. It is a time when world-renowned artist Rembrandt van Rijn is at the height of fame among his patrons — and when his young son Titus longs to imitate him father and become a great painter. At first, Rembrandt rebuffs Titus’s attempts at drawing, but gradually is won over by his son’s enthusiasm and persistence, and he begins to teach Titus the basic techniques of drawing from life.

 A Splash of Red: The Life and Art of Horace Pippin

By Jen Bryant, Illustrated by Melissa Sweet

As a child in the late 1800s, Horace Pippin loved to draw. He drew pictures for his sisters, his classmates, his co-workers. Even during WWI, Horace filled his notebooks with drawings from the trenches…until he was shot. Upon his return home, Horace couldn’t lift his right arm. He couldn’t make any art. Slowly, with lots of practice, he regained use of his arm, until once again, he was able to paint, and paint, and paint. Before long, his paintings were displayed in galleries and museums across the country.

Who Was Frieda Kahlo?

By Sarah Fabiny, Illustrated by Jerry Hoare

You can always recognize a painting by Frieda Kahlo because she is in nearly all — with her black braided hair and colorful Mexican outfits. A brave woman who was an invalid most of her life, she transformed herself into a living work of art. As famous for her self-portraits and haunting imagery as she was for her marriage to another famous artist, Diego Rivera, this strong and courageous painter was inspired by the ancient culture and history of her beloved homeland, Mexico. 

The Noisy Paint Box

By Barb Rosenstock, Illustrated by Mary GrandPre

Vasya Kandinsky was a proper little boy: he studied math and history, he practiced the piano, he sat up straight and was perfectly polite. And when his family sent him to art classes, they expected him to paint pretty houses and flowers — like a proper artist. 

But as Vasya opened his paint box and began mixing the reds, the yellows, the blues, he heard a strange sound — the swirling colors trilled like an orchestra tuning up for a symphony. And as he grew older, Vasya continued to hear brilliant colors singing and to see sounds dancing. But was Vasya brave enough to put aside his proper still lifes and portraits and paint…music?

Just Behave, Pablo Picasso

By Jonah Winter, Pictures by Kevin Hawkes

“One day the world is peaceful, lovely landscape painting…The next day — BLAM! — Pablo bursts through the canvas, paintbrush in hand, ready to paint something fresh and new.”

Pablo Picasso may have been one of the most famous artists of the 20th century, but that doesn’t mean he painted what people wanted him to paint. Some people hated his paintings and called them ugly and terrible. But Picasso didn’t listen to all those people. He kept on working the way he wanted to, until he created something new, so different, that people didn’t know what to say.

Action Jackson

By Jan Greenberg and Sandra Jordan

Illustrated by Robert Andrew Parker

One late spring morning the American artist Jackson Pollock began work on the canvas that would ultimately come to be known as Number 1. The authors use this moment as the departure point for a picture book about a great painter and the way in which he worked. 

The book descriptions used are the publisher’s.

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