The sun is beginning to come out, spring break will be here soon, and a trip to a museum might be a fun way to spend an afternoon with your preschooler, don't you think? It doesn't have to be as high-falutin' as it sounds. Most fine art museums have sections just for the little ones, chock full of educational tips and pint-sized ways to get our little ones thinking about Art. And once your child is old enough to remember and respect the all important museum rule (Don't touch the art!), you can venture out into the galleries themselves.
With all this in mind, we asked ourselves: if we were to make a list of the ten best artists to introduce to our preschoolers, who would be on it? Which artists would capture our little ones' imaginations, make them curious, inspire them, make them laugh, puzzle, wonder?
Here it is—biased, we readily admit, by our own idiosyncratic tastes. But a list has to start somewhere, right?
Paul Cezanne - For his still lives. Do you have a bowl of fruit in your kitchen? Would your little artist like to make a painting of it? (p.s. See the Metropolitan Museum of Art's wonderful online presentation for children, Cezanne's Astonishing Apples.)
Edgar Degas - For his beautiful dancers. What little ballerina wouldn't fall in love? (Don't miss another of the Met's fantastic online tools for kids: The Dancers and Degas.)
Mary Cassatt - Because she painted ordinary mothers and children. A child waking from a nap, for instance, or having a drink of water. Cassatt thought these moments were worth representing—no one agrees more than we do.
Henri Matisse - For showing us how amazing cutouts and collage can be. And for his colors. And so much more.
Marc Chagall - Because he painted dreams, and people flying, and even a birthday party.
Amedeo Modigliani - For his strange, abstracted portraits, including some of children. Which might inspire a bit of portraiture from our small ones.
Georgia O'Keeffe - For the way she looked at the natural world, and especially flowers. Really looked at them—just as our little ones do if we let them.
Alexander Calder - Because his mobiles and his circus sculptures are sure to enchant any kid (be sure to watch the film of Calder operating "Cirque Calder"). See what you can make with a little wire!
Jeff Koons - For his giant puppy made of flowering plants. What preschooler wouldn't love that?
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