Henry Matisse

Henry MatisseHenri Emile Benoit Matisse was a noted French artist known as one of the best artists in the 20th Century. He was born on December 31, 1869 in Le Cateau-Cambresis, Nord-Pas-de-Calais, France. He was the first son to parents who run a successful seed business. He was schooled to become a lawyer.

In 1887, he went to Paris to study law and even became a court administrator after gaining his qualification. Matisse only discovered painting while on a period of recovery after an attack of appendicitis in 1889. During this time, his mother provided him with art supplied to spend his time with while recovering.

Upon discovering art and painting, Matisse decided to become an artist and leave the practice of law which disappointed his father. In 1891, he began to study art at the Academie Julian. He started by painting still lifes and landscapes using the traditional style from which he became quite successful. By 1896, he was able to exhibit five of his own paintings at the Salon Nationale des Beaux-Arts where two of them were eventually bought by the state.

In 1897, Matisse was introduced to Impressionism by fellow painter John Peter Russell. This led Matisse to change his style of painting completely. As he was influenced by the works of post-Impressionists such as Van Gogh, Gauguin and Paul Cezanne, Matisse began to incorporate color as a crucial element of his later works.

Matisse became fond of having bright and expressive colors into his works which became more pronounced sometime in 1905. This eventually led to paintings using wild and often dissonant colors in order to express emotions rather than following the natural colors of the subjects. This became the start for Fauvism, which came from the word Fauves (wild beasts) from which the artists became known as. Matisse was considered as one of the leaders of the said movement.

Matisse created many of his finest works from 1906 to 1917, when he was an active participant in the great gathering of artists in Montparnasse. In 1917, Matisse relocated to a suburb in Nice. This was followed by a distinct softening in his approach to his artwork. He began to show in his paintings a sort of return to the traditional style. In 1941, Matisse was diagnosed with cancer that put him in a wheelchair after surgery. Here, Matisse began to create cut paper collages.

In 1947, he was able to publish a book entitled Jazz, a book which contained a collection of colorful paper cut collages accompanied with personal comments and thoughts. Matisse died of a heart attack in November 3, 1954 at the ripe old age of 83.

Image Source: Wikipedia

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One Response to “Henry Matisse”

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