- NAME: Henri Matisse
- OCCUPATION: Painter, Sculptor
- BIRTH DATE: December 31, 1869
- DEATH DATE: November 03, 1954
- EDUCATION: Académie Julian, Paris, École des Arts Décoratifs, Paris, École des Beaux-Arts, Paris
- PLACE OF BIRTH: Le Cateau, Picardy, France
- PLACE OF DEATH: Nice, France
- Full Name: Henri Emile Benoît Matisse
- AKA: Henri Matisse
Best Known For
Henri Matisse was a revolutionary and influential artist of the early 20th century, best known for the expressive color and form of his Fauvist style.
Henri Matisse - Blue Nude (0:00)
Henri Matisse's "Blue Nude" debuted in 1907 and is one of the most pivotal and controversial works of his career.
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Like much of Matisse’s mature work, this scene captured a mood rather than merely trying to depict the world realistically.
In the first decade of the century, Matisse also made sculptures and drawings that were sometimes related to his paintings, always repeating and simplifying his forms to their essence.
After finding his own style, Matisse enjoyed a greater degree of success. He was able to travel to Italy, Germany, Spain and North Africa for inspiration. He bought a large studio in a suburb of Paris and signed a contract with the prestigious art dealers of Galerie Bernheim-Jeune in Paris. His art was purchased by prominent collectors such as Gertrude Stein in Paris and the Russian businessman Sergei I. Shchukin, who commissioned Matisse’s important pair of paintings Dance I and Music in 1909-10.
In his works of the 1910s and 1920s, Matisse continued to delight and surprise his viewers with his signature elements of saturated colors, flattened pictorial space, limited detail and strong outlines. Some works, like Piano Lesson (1916), explored the structures and geometry of Cubism, the movement pioneered by Matisse’s lifelong rival Pablo Picasso. Yet despite his radical approach to color and form, Matisse’s subjects were often traditional: scenes of his own studio (including The Red Studio of 1911), portraits of friends and family, arrangements of figures in rooms or landscapes.
In 1917 Matisse began spending winters on the Mediterranean, and in 1921 he moved to the city of Nice on the French Riviera. From 1918-30, he most frequently painted female nudes in carefully staged settings within his studio, making use of warm lighting and patterned backgrounds. He also worked extensively in printmaking during these years.
The first scholarly book about Matisse was published in 1920, marking his importance in the history of modern art as it was still taking place.
In his later career, Matisse received several major commissions, such as a mural for the art gallery of collector Dr. Albert Barnes of Pennsylvania, titled Dance II, in 1931-33. He also drew book illustrations for a series of limited-edition poetry collections.
After surgery in 1941, Matisse was often bedridden; however, he continued to work from a bed in his studio. When necessary, he would draw with a pencil or charcoal attached to the end of a long pole that enabled him to reach the paper or canvas. His late work was just as experimental and vibrant as his earlier artistic breakthroughs had been. It included his 1947 book Jazz, which placed his own thoughts on life and art side by side with lively images of colored paper cutouts. This project led him to devising works that were cutouts on their own, most notably several series of expressively shaped human figures cut from bright blue paper and pasted to wall-size background sheets (such as Swimming Pool, 1952).
In one of his final projects, Matisse created an entire program of decorations for the Chapel of the Rosary in Vence (1948-51), a town near Nice, designing stained-glass windows, murals, furnishings, and even sacred vestments for the church’s priests.
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