☆Henri Matisse didn’t set out to become an artist. As a young man in Paris he studied law, passing his bar exam with distinction and even taking a job as a law clerk.
☆A bout of ill health changed the course of Matisse’s life and career forever. Suffering an acute attack of appendicitis at the age of twenty, he was left on temporary bed rest. During his recovery, Matisse’s mother, Anna Heloise, brought him an assortment of art supplies to help him pass the time, and he fell in love with painting.
☆He was born on New Year’s Eve in 1869 in Le Cateau-Cambrésis in northern France to middle-class grain merchants.
☆Matisse studied with the French academic painter William-Adolphe Bouguereau in 1891 at the Académie Julian.
☆ In 1892, Matisse left the academy after an unsuccessful year and struck up what would become a long and fruitful apprenticeship with the Symbolist painter Gustave Moreau, who nurtured the artist’s more experimental inclinations.
☆ Among his greatest patrons were three American women – the salon-world grande dame Gertrude Stein and sisters Claribel and Etta Cone. The Cone sisters, whom Matisse called “my two Baltimore ladies,” together assembled one of the preeminent collections of his work in the world.
☆ Matisse was one key leaders of Fauvism, the 20th century’s first avant-garde art movement. Active from roughly 1905 to 1910, Fauvism radically reinterpreted color as an expressive and structural element, divorced from literal description. “When I put down a green, it doesn‘t mean grass; and when I put down a blue, it doesn’t mean the sky,” Matisse declared.
☆His early paintings were surprisingly conservative, but Matisse experienced an artistic about-face when his friend the Australian painter John Peter Russell introduced him to the work of Vincent van Gogh in 1897.
☆For the public and some critics, especially in the US, Matisse’s radical use of color was outrageous, even offensive. Reactions could be passionate – in 1913, when Blue Nude (1907–08) traveled to Chicago, students at the Art Institute burned an effigy of the work.
☆While living in Vence, France, at the Villa Le Rêve in the 1940s, Matisse had three cats Minouche, Coussi and La Puce whom he fed pieces of brioche every morning.
☆ Besides his cats, Matisse adored doves, which he purchased from vendors along the Seine. The dove shape appears in many of his cut-outs and it was one of his birds on which Picasso modeled his Dove of Peace (1949). In his last days, Matisse gifted his precious birds to the Spanish artist.
☆ In the last years of his life Matisse was confined to a wheelchair. As painting became increasingly difficult physically, the artist turned to his cut-out technique. He made shapes of paper with a scissor, which he then arranged using a long stick in a technique he called “painting with scissors.”
Matisse’s most famous work:
Here are the 10 most famous art pieces by Henri Matisse.
Woman in a purple coat (1937).
The Open window (1905).
Goldfish and Pallete(1914).
Luxury, calm and pleasure (1904).
Woman with a hat (1905).
Bathers by the river (1917).
Blue nude [Souvenir of Biska]- (1907).
The Red Studio (1911).
The joy of life (1906).
Personally my favourites are: joy of life, luxury calm and pleasure, the open window, but I also love the portraits of women he did in the cutting method.
Which of these is your favourite? Do you like Henri Matisse? Comment below.