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"Artist is a Nutshell" Biographies

Our free resource art site,, features the biographies of our major artists, along with a collection of printable resources and lesson ideas that make learning fun!

Here are a few "Artist in a Nutshell" biographies. If your looking a more complete biography with a collection of free printable resources (printable biography, worksheets, and art projects for kids), our "Meet the Artist" Biographies" focus on what teachers want kids to know most.


Mary Stevenson Cassatt (1844-1926) American Impressionist Artist
Mary Stevenson Cassatt was born in Allegheny City, Pennsylvania, a city which is now part of Pittsburgh on May 22, 1844. She was an American painter and printmaker during the impressionist period. As an adult life, she spent much of her time in France where she met artist Edgar Degas. Cassatt often painted images of the lives of women, emphasizing the intimate bond between mother and child. Mary Stevenson Cassatt died on June 14, 1926. at Chteau de Beaufresne, near Paris. She is one of the most successful women artists, and her paintings have sold for as much as $2.9 million.

Paul Cezanne (1839-1906) French Post-Impressionist Painter
Paul Cezanne was born in France in 1839. He was a post-impressionist artist whose work shaped the transitional period between nineteenth century Impressionism and the art of the twentieth century. Both French artist Henri Matisse and Spanish artist Pablo Picasso refer to Cezanne as the father of us all. Cezanne's work shows mastery of design, with repetitive and sensitive brushstrokes that are umiquely his. His most notable art works include Still Life with Apples and Oranges (1895-1900), Woman in a Green Hat (1894-1895) and The Cardplayers (1892). Paul Cezanne died in 1906. The art world soon identified him as one of the most important artists of the 19th century, and an inspiring force to Cubism.

Pablo Picasso (1881-1973) Spanish Modern Artist
Pablo Picasso was born in 1881 in Malaga, Spain to Don Jose Ruiz y Blasco, an art teacher, and Maria Picasso y Lopez. He, along with George Braque, is a co-founded Cubism, a technique that allowed an artist to show his subject from several vantage points, rather than only one. Picasso enjoyed a prolific career in art, producing 20,000 artworks throughout his 70 year career. His most important works include, Les Demoiselles d'Avignon (1907), Guernica (1937), and Three Musicians (1921). A prodigy in his youth, Pablo Picasso profoundly impacted the art of the 20th century.


Henri Matisse (1869-1954) French Modern Artist
French modern artist Henri Matisse was born in 1869 in Northern France. His artwork was joyful, and full of patterns and rich colors. during his recovery from an illness his mother gave him a paint set. It was during this time that Matisse decided to become an artist. Originally labeled a Fauvist, Matisse was later praised for supporting the French classical painting tradition. His greatest art works include Woman with the Hat (1905), Red Fish (1911), The Dance (1910), and he Moroccan in Green (1913). A museum, opened two years before his death, houses the third-largest Matisse collection in all of France.

Michelangelo (1475-1564) Italian Renaissance Artist
Michelangelo Buonarroti was born on March 6, 1475, in Caprese, Italy. From childhood Michelangelo was drawn to the arts. However, his father considered this pursuit below the family's social status and tried to discourage him. In 1488, at age thirteen, Michelangelo followed his interest in the arts, and became an apprentice in Domenico Ghirlandaio's workshop, one of the most fashionable painters in Florence. In 1489 Michelangelo left his apprenticeship after one year and excepted an invitation from Lorenzo de' Medici, the Magnificent, a retired sculptor and ruler of Florence. It was during this time that he created some of his most important works, include the Madonna of the Steps (1490-1492) and Battle of the Centaurs (1491-1492). In 1501 Michelangelo returned to Florence where he was later commissioned to paint the 12,000 square foot ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. Michelangelo died on February 18, 1564. He excelled in poetry, sculpture, painting, and architecture, and his idealized and expressive works have encouraged many to regard him as one of the greatest masters of European art.

Piet Mondrian (b.1892-d.1944) Dutch Modern Artist
Piet Mondrian was born in the Netherlands in 1892. Beginning with landscapes, Mondrian moved through various styles, including Cubism, to arrive at his signature style. He reduced his color scheme to primary colors, and divided the blocks of color with simple black lines to create a bold new look in his Neoplastic style. His most important works include his Still Life with Ginger Pot I (1911), Composition (1916) and Broadway Boogie Woogie (1942-43). Piet Mondrian died of pneumonia in New York City in 1944. He is celebrated for his widespread impact on graphic arts, industrial design and architecture.

Claude Monet (1840 1926) French Impressionist Painter
Claude Monet was born in Paris, France in 1840. The style of his artwork breaks free from the typical confines of artistic composition, to evolve into the groundbreaking landscape images of the Impressionist period, for which he is credited as founding. The impressionist period was a movement in which painters turned to natural world for their inspiration, incorporating vibrant light and color in their art, moving away from the solemn colors of the previous era. Claude Monet died in 1926 at the age of 86. Several of his most celebrated works include Impression, Sunrise (for which the Impressionist movement was named), and for his series of approximately two hundred and fifty water lilies paintings depicting his flower garden in Giverny, France.

Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519) Italian Artist
Leonardo da Vinci was born on April 15, 1452 in Vinci, Italy. Throughout his life he developed many interests, which led him to become mathematician, inventor, engineer, scientist, anatomist, painter, sculptor, botanist, architect, musician and writer. Leonardo da Vinci has been described as a renaissance man whose unquenchable curiosity was equaled only by his powers of invention. Because of incredible output and diversity, Da Vinci is regarded as one of the greatest painters of all time, and quite possibily the most talented person that has ever lived. Helen Gardner remarked that "the scope and depth of his interests were without precedent. His mind and personality seem to us superhuman, the man himself mysterious and remote." Leonardo da Vinci died on May 2, 1519 in Amboise, Touraine, which is now Indre-et-Loire,France. The Last Supper and his Mona Lisa are among his greatest artistic acheivements, and in fact the Mona Lisa is among the most recognizable works of art throughout the world.

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