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TeachNet NYC: Lesson Plans

Sculpting a Modern Art Chair with van Gogh & Gauguin 

Project URL:

How it works:

To enhance students' understanding of the Impressionist movement in art history, this unit follows A Walk in an Impressionist Garden with Monet and van Gogh.  Students make the connection between Impressionism and Post-Impressionism and its leading figures--van Gogh and Gauguin. To further their understanding of the Modern Art movement, they see van Gogh in a different light--compared with Paul Gauguin--and explore Post-Impressionism and specifically van Gogh's "Gauguin's Chair" and "Van Gogh's Chair." They explore Internet sites and take a virtual tour of "Van Gogh and Gauguin: The Studio of the South." By viewing Internet images, classroom posters, and text illustratons, students become familiar with the artwork of van Gogh, as he traveled to the South of France, and Gauguin's work when the two artists met there. Students interpret the unique style of these great painters and see their influence on the development of modern art. They also view slides of famous modern art works by Picasso, Klee, Dubuffet, Close, Johns, Pollock, O'Keeffe, and Warhol.  Finally, the students choose a modern artist whose work appeals to them, and they create a small three-dimensional cardboard chair that will be painted in that artist's style. 

Standards addressed:  
This unit fulfills the New York State Learning Standards for the Arts, English Language Arts, and Technology. Students actively engage in the processes that constitute creation in the visual arts, are knowledgeable about and make use of the materials and resources available, respond to and analyze works of art while connecting the individual work to other works and to aspects of human endeavor and thought, and develop an understanding of the personal and cultural forces that shape artistic communication and how the arts in turn shape past and present cultures. They read, write, listen, and speak for information and understanding, literary response, and critical analysis and evaluation, and they apply technological knowledge and skills to design, construct, use, and evaluate products and systems to satisfy human and environmental needs.

Materials used: 
Required materials include a computer with Internet access, a VCR and  television to view the video "Van Gogh's van Goghs," a slide projector with screen to view artwork, and various books and magazines. Cardboard and paints will also be needed.

The students:
Sculpting a Modern Art Chair with van Gogh & Gauguin was created for a seventh grade major art class. However, it is easily adaptable to all age groups: K-12, after-school classes, community organization and senior citizen groups, and college-level courses.

Overall value:
Through the use of technology and the Internet, students visit the collection at the van Gogh museum in Amsterdam and go on a virtual trip at the site "Van Gogh and Gauguin: The Studio of the South." Visits to their favorite artists' homes, galleries, and museums provide valuable information on their lives and works. This is a wonderful motivational tool for students to design their own modern art chairs.

This unit can usually be completed in one month. Library and computer lab visits aid in the exploration of these artists. If students have Internet access at home, this lends itself to assigning homework to gather additional research and background information. There are many valuable books, videos, and CDs that appeal to all the senses and stimulate interest and creativity in all students.

About the teacher:
Lori Langsner is an art teacher at Myra S. Barnes Intermediate School 24. She has always shared her passion for art with her students and is constantly looking for new ways to utilize technology. She is one of the original writers of the TeachNet Grant Project for her school and she recently received a TeachNet Grant for A Walk in an Impressionist Garden with Monet and van Gogh.


Subject Areas: 
Language Arts

Grade Levels: 



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