We did this several years in a row in pretty diff ways. I like to pick out a fun artist (ie - someone my boys can stand to look at several of their pictures in a row without asking how many more we have to see) to highlight every week or so.
We do this during homeschool on Fridays. Matisse. Like him. The boys like him. I ordered these little booklets on some of the major artists a few years back from some educational catalog. It has info about his life and kid friendly (ie - not naked) art inside. It also suggested some art projects.
Personally - I think all this could be achieved in a few clicks on the computer. I do not like the library. I know - what kind of homeschool mommy am I? One who doesn't like the library. The books feel germie to me. I know germs can not thrive on books on a shelf....but still.
Matisse project #1 Did this with a 4 and 5 year old I mixed reg. glue and water in a bowl to make the glue thin. I let the kids paint brush the glue onto a piece of poster board. Then the kid tore tissue paper and placed it on the glue. Total time - 20 minutes from start to hand washing. The kids loved tearing the paper. The glue will become the color of the tissue paper if you slide the paper around. SO - I encouraged the boys to just lay the paper down and not slide it.
Matisse was a painter. But he also painted bright pages and then cut the shapes up to use in his collages. My boys were pretty young - so I let them tear the paper. We looked at Matisse's work when he painted and when he used paper. We compared and contrasted the two.
Alex - 4 - made a colorful collage with his papers. David - 5 - made a warrior These pictures are framed and in our long hall way upstairs. In our "gallery."
Matisse Project #2 The following year we talked about Matisse again. This time the boys were 5 and 6. I selected several pictures by Matisse to show the kids. Reviewed his life. The kids were given the squares of colorful paper to fill in the back ground - like in our sample pictures. Then I gave them a bunch of Matisse like shapes of brightly colored paper. They both chose to make a picture of themselves. David's is a tiny figure of himself with shapes (that represent the music) all around him. Alex's figure of himself is much bigger. His lines coming from his head are him talking and singing.
The idea was to lead the kids in a project where we imitated the artist's style. But the kids were not re-creating a particular picture. They still got to play and be creative within the parameters I gave them.
Oh - David liked it so much - he made a dinosaur and several warriors out of his shapes.
The following year we used the bulletin board to make more pictures with these shapes. Matisse would pin his pictures up on a board and move around the shapes for weeks before gluing them down. I think this year when we talk about him - I will let the boys paint and then cut the shapes themselves and have a little more flexibility in what they produce.
I am not a "memorize this picture" kind of art of teacher. I just want to expose the kids to different ways of being creative. I know some will totally bore them. But some may get them so excited that they can't wait to make more. I just can't ever tell which way it will work out.