Monday, September 17, 2007

Henri Matisse (1869-1954)

Sierra Club


I have always sought to be understood and, while I was taken to task by critics or colleagues, I thought they were right, assuming I had not been clear enough to be understood. This assumption allowed me to work my whole life without hatred and even without bitterness toward criticism, regardless of its source. I counted solely on the clarity of expression of my work to gain my ends. Hatred, rancor, and the spirit of vengeance are useless baggage to the artist. His road is difficult enough for him to cleanse his soul of everything which could make it more so.


Please browse our Amazon list of titles about Henri-Emile-Benoit Matisse. For rare and hard to find works we recommend our Alibris list of titles about Henri-Emile-Benoit Matisse.


Powerpoint: The Road to Expressionism
COPAC UK: Henri Matisse
Library of Canada Search Form
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Henri-Emile-Benoit Matisse (December 31, 1869 - November 3, 1954) was a noted French artist, working in a number of modes, but principally as a painter he is considered one of the most significant artists of the early 20th century. He was born in Le Cateau, Picardy and grew up in Bohain-en-Vermandois. In 1887 he went to Paris to study law. After gaining his qualification he worked as a court administrator in Cateau Cambresis. But following an attack of appendicitis during his convalescence he took up painting. On his recovery he returned to Paris in 1891 to study art at the Academie Julian and became a student of Odilon Redon and Gustave Moreau.

Influenced by the works of Edouard Manet, Paul Signac and Paul Cezanne he painted in the Fauvist manner, becoming known as a leader of that movement. His first exhibition was in 1901 and his first solo exhibition in 1904. His fondess for bright and expressive colour became more pronounced after he moved southwards in 1905 to work with Andre Derain and spent time on the French Riviera, his paintings marked by having the colours keyed up into a blaze of intense shades and characterized by flat shapes and controlled lines, with expression dominant over detail. The decline of the Fauvist movement after 1906 did nothing to affect the rise of Matisse; he had moved beyond them and many of his finest works were created between 1906 and 1917.

In 1921 Matisse settled in Nice and continued to work in a more luxuious environment with less attention and a more 'decorative' style. In 1941 Matisse was diagnosed with cancer and following surgery he soon needed a wheelchair; this did not stop his work however. But as increased weakness made a easel impossible he created papercut collages called papiers decoupes, often of some size, which still demonstrated his eye for colour and geometry. He died in Nice. Unlike many artists he had international fame and popularity during his lifetime. Right from his early shows in Paris he attracted collectors and critics.

His works include Notre-Dame, une fin d'apres-midi (1902), Green Stripe (1905), The Open Window (1905), Le bonheur de vivre (1906), Madras Rouge (1907), The Conversation (1909), Dance (1910), L'Atelier Rose (1911), Zorah on the Terrace (1912), Le Rifain assis (1912), La lecon de musique (1917), The Painter and His Model (1917), Interior At Nice (1920), Odalisque with Raised Arms (1923), Yellow Odalisque (1926), Robe violette et Anemones (1937), Le Reve de 1940 (1940), Deux fillettes, fond jaune et rouge (1947), Jazz (1947), Chapelle du Saint-Marie du Rosaire (1948, completed in 1951), Beasts of the Sea (1950), and L'Escargot (1953). [This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License and uses material adapted in whole or in part from the Wikipedia article on Henri-Emile-Benoit Matisse.]

Books from Alibris: Henri Matisse

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