Henri Matisse

Henri-Émile-Benoît Matisse was born in 1869 and died in 1954. Matisse was most widely known as a painter but he was also a sculptor, printmaker, and a draftsman, which is a person who draws with more than one drawing instrument. He was a Frenchman who became known as one of the leading painters of modern art.

Like other artists who start on one path only to later change paths, Matisse changed the course of his plans and became an artists after being exposed to art supplies. He was studying to be a lawyer, but during that time, he had a case of appendicitis. He had to remain in bed for a long period recovering so his mother brought him some art supplies. It was then that he discovered what he called "a kind of paradise."

Matisse began his painting career with still life paintings and landscapes but transitioned to more impressionist paintings after being exposed to some of the work of van Gogh. His style also changed after he learned extensively about color theory from John Russell Peter, an Australian painter.

Matisse was nicknamed "El Fauve" early in his career. A fauve is a wild beast. This later led to him being at the forefront of the Fauvism movement that lasted for only a short four years from 1904-1908. This movement centered on a style that was not exactly true to the impressionist era. Rather, Fauvism used strong colors and painterly qualities which meant there were obvious stroke marks and other features painters use. As a leader of the Fauvism movement, Matisse along with others who were classified as part of this group held an exhibit in 1905. This brought much more recognition to this movement.

In 1906, Matisse became friends with Pablo Picasso, another famous artist who was 12 years younger than Matisse. The two were often compared to each other in their work so at times their friendship had some rivalry as well. The primary difference between the two artists was Matisse was more inclined to paint from nature, whereas Picasso painted from imagination. Examples of the works of Matisse can be found throughout the world. Matisse lived in France his entire life, but his work has traveled the globe. Some of his most well-known pieces are Portrait of Madame Matisse, The Red Room, The Conversation, and The Painter and His Model. The piece The Painter and his Model has some significance because Matisse fathered a child with a model in 1894 but then married his wife of 41 years in 1898. After 41 years, Matisse and his wife separated. He was taken care of the rest of his life by a Russian woman who was once a model for him.

List of Famous Works:

Bathers with a Turtle, 1908

The Dance,1909

Le bonheur de vivre, 1905

The Green Line, 1905

Blue Nude, 1907

Woman with a Hat, 1905