Henri Matisse was a 19th Century French painter, draftsman, sculptor and printmaker who, along with Pablo Picasso and Marcel Duchamp, helped to make developments in plastic arts and revolutionized the use of colour. Initially, Matisse was part of the Fauvist (wild beasts) movement, but as he and his artworks continued to evolve, became known as a bastion for both traditional French painting, and modern art.

Matisse began drawing at the age of eighteen soon after leaving school. Originally, he trained as a Lawyer; only moving to Paris in 1891 to study art at the Académie Julian and then at the École des Beaux-Arts. A lover of all art, Matisse immersed himself in the work of his fellow painters drawing inspiration from Japanese art, Impressionism, Post-Impressionism and Pointillism. Working across a number of forms including painting, drawing and sculpture. Matisse always maintained his aim to discover “the essential character of things” and to produce an art “of balance, purity, and serenity”.

His mastery of the expressive language of colour came into it’s own in his old age. After being diagnosed with cancer in 1941, painting and drawing became too painful, and so, he began his ‘cut outs’, which were abstract collages of cut outs of colourful (gauche) paper. Matisse would go on to use this style to create the stained glass windows for Chapelle du Rosaire de Vence (France) and the Union Church of Pocantico Hills (New York).

Today, Matisse is known as one of the leading figures in modern art. His paintings and limited edition prints of his paintings include The Conversation, The Painter and His Model and Portrait de Famille.


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