Henri Matisse

Henri Matisse
31.12.1869 (Le Cateau-Cambrèsis, France) - 03.11.1954 (Cimiez, France)

Nationality: French


Henri Matisse was born in 1869 and first went to study law in Paris, where he graduated in 1888. After that he began copying prints and around 1890 he painted his first still lifes. However, his father had little faith in the artistic ambitions of his son, so it was not until 1892 that he went to Paris for his artistic training.Matisse becomes particularly interested in the rendering of light and space. He traveled to London on the advice of Pissarro to study the work of John William Turner, because of their shared fascination with light. Slowly he manages to free himself from the yoke of scholasticism and finds space to convey his strong emotions, with which his colour intensifies. He ventures into Pointillism and is strongly influenced by Cézanne in his efforts to achieve a more disciplined structure based on fields of contrasting colours. His first major success comes with a pointillist work. He was appointed chairman of Des Indépendants and the piece was purchased by Paul Signac.Quickly after that, Matisse gave up Neo-Impressionism and started working with a broader brushstroke, and even more expressive colours. When some of these pieces were exhibited at the Salon d'Automne in Paris, they caused outrage, and the exhibitors, including Derain, Marquet and Vlaminck were mockingly called Fauves, or ‘wild beasts’, which marked the beginning of Fauvism, with Matisse as its spiritual father.The years that followed were Matisse's most artistically creative and most interesting period, he painted his best known and most spectacular pieces including The Red Room, The Dance and The Music. He internationally recognised and said works were bought by prominent collectors Ivan Morozov and Sergei Shchukin.In 1917 Matisse exchanged buzzling Paris for much quieter Mediterranean Nice and in the following ten years his work became more moderate and 'classic'. After an unsuccessful surgery in 1941, Matisse ended up in a wheelchair. This greatly limited him in his work and freedom of movement. Since he could not paint the way he was used to, he started making colourful collages of cut paper, he also made prints and book illustrations. In the following years he designed the Chapelle du Rosaire in Vence and took charge of the furnishing and decoration. Matisse worked until his death in 1954.


Selected exhibitions:

2015: The Oasis of Matisse, March 27 - August 16, Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
2014: Henri Matisse: The Cut-Outs, Tate Modern, London, United Kingdom

Artist's locations

view work by Henri Matisse

Femme et Bouquets

Portrait de Femme (Lydia)

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