Henri Matisse

1869 - 1954 · France

Artist biography

Henri Matisse was a French artist, often considered as one of the most significant French painters of the 20th century. Matisse was, alongside Pablo Picasso, a key figure of Fauvism. Some of his musings included still life, dancers and nudes, depicted through a lively brushwork and a revolutionary use of bright, stunning colours. Matisse experimented with various techniques such as pointillism in his paintings, sculpting, and later in his career, paper collages.

Henri Matisse’s earliest works were representative of the French Realism of the 1850s, but he began to liberate his style around 1897, with the notorious painting “The Dinner Table”, influenced by Impressionism. Soon thereafter in the early 1900s, Matisse started to experiment with pointillism and the use of vivid colours, producing artworks such as “Open Window” and “Woman with Hat”. In Matisse’s mature painting style, the forms and outlines became heavier, with a reduction in details and a flat-shaped application of colours, apparent in the painting “The Dance”. Matisse was also a renowned sculptor and became fascinated with paper cut-outs techniques towards the end of his career, his Blue Nudes are still regarded today as some of the most influential works of art ever created.

Matisse was born on December 31st, 1869, in Le Cateau-Cambresis, Northern France. He studied law in Paris, and returned to the north of France, in Saint-Quentin, to become a law clerk. He soon began to experience anxieties related to his job, and while recovering from an appendicitis surgery he began to discover the joys and freedom of painting. Matisse returned to Paris in 1891 to study art, joined the studio of Gustave Moreau, a renowned symbolist painter, and entered the Ecole des Beaux-Arts de Paris in 1895. Matisse died of a heart-attack on November 3rd, 1954.

Henri Matisse’s legacy is momentous, his work influenced an incredibly significant number of artists and is still today, loved and esteemed worldwide. Matisse’s work is in the collections of some of the most renowned museums worldwide, and two museums in France are dedicated to his artworks, in Nice and in Le Cateau-Cambresis.

Henri Matisse

  • Artworks in Collections 3
  • Exhibitions 7

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