Henri Matisse, full name being Henri -Emile-Benoit Matisse was an important painter in the 20th century. Henri was born on December 31, 1869, in Picardy, France. He passed away on November 3, 1954, in Nice.
Around 1900, he was the Fauvist movement’s head. Throughout his career, he explored the expressiveness of color. His subjects were primarily homely or figurative, and the style of his paintings had a very Mediterranean flair.
Along with Pablo Picasso, Matisse is frequently recognized as one of the artists who contributed most to defining the advancements in the visual arts. The revolution took place during the first decades of the 20th century. Matisse is responsible for essential developments in sculpture and painting. In this article, we will unravel some interesting facts about the great artist’s life.
Henri Matisse had no intention of being a creative person. Instead, he pursued legal studies as a young person in Paris, successfully passing the bar exam. He then accepted a position as a law clerk. He was raised in Picardie, France’s Bohain-en-Vermandois. He moved to Paris in 1887 to pursue a legal education, and once he graduated, he took a job as a court administrator in Le Cateau-Cambrésis.
After his mother gave him art tools during recovery following an episode of appendicitis, he first began to paint in 1889. He found what he subsequently called “a type of paradise” and, much to his father’s dismay, decided to pursue art.
He went back to Paris in 1891 and enrolled in art classes at the Académie Julian with William-Adolphe Bouguereau and the Ecole Nationale des Beaux-Arts under Gustave Moreau. He began by creating traditional still lifes and landscapes, at which he was at least passably skilled.
In 1906, at the peak of the Fauvism movement, Matisse met Pablo Picasso (1881-1973). Although they may also be viewed as lifetime rivals, the two remained great friends for the remainder of their lives. The two artists’ artistic styles only differed in one very significant way.
Picasso frequently took inspiration from his imagination, whereas Matisse drew inspiration from nature which is apparent in most of famous Matisse paintings. Nevertheless, Paris exhibits frequently included both artists together. This changed in 1917 when Matisse relocated to Cimiez, a posh suburb of Nice.
Their collaboration was marked by a sense of rivalry mixed with mutual awareness, acclaim, and artistic friendship. This art competition and cooperation launched the new narrative of modernism. Although they both had the same desire to explore new creative avenues, the two artists hailed from entirely different backgrounds.
Picasso, born in southern Spain as a child prodigy and twelve years younger than Matisse, was supported and encouraged by his artistic family. To make his reputation in the center of the art world, he relocated to Paris as a young man.
Even though Matisse and Picasso continued to interact after their initial encounter, Matisse was intimidated by the younger artist’s presence and worried that his status as a preeminent artist was in danger. Regardless of their differences, both painters shared respect for Paul Cézanne, whose deconstruction of three-dimensional figures on a two-dimensional plane subverted the conventional one-point perspective. Their conflicting perspectives on the master heightened their animosity. But it’s worth noting that these two great artists, whose works continue to shape contemporary art, had a relationship.
As the founder of the Fauvist movement, a group of painters known for their exuberant use of colors that are uninspired by nature, Matisse made a splash in the latter part of nineteenth-century French art.
This startling departure from the prevailing creative norms of his time left an enduring and vibrant imprint on art history. The Fauvists are known as Les Fauves, or “the wild animals,” for their use of unpolished, uncooked paint. Contemporary artists are still influenced by Matisse’s aesthetic movement, color theory, and compositional principles.
In his renowned works like Woman with a Hat, Matisse initially uses arrangement and color to express how he initially felt about a subject. Then, in typical Matisse style, the painting is quick and full of vibrant colors, conveying the excitement he felt when capturing the woman on canvas.
All Fauvist artworks have color at their core, and color combinations influenced each painting’s structure and rhythm. For example, the sky may be red, trees can be blue, and a face could be a blend of greens and purples since these artists used color to express emotion rather than a particular subject.
Even though Matisse had a long and distinguished career, his later years were not particularly happy. His wife sued him for having suspicions that the artist was having an affair with Lydia Delectorskaya, a considerably younger Russian model.
Just two years later, he received a diagnosis of stomach cancer, which necessitated surgery, rendered him bedridden for a long time, and prevented him from painting.
During this challenging time in his life, Matisse showed his versatility and tenacity by using it to create cut-paper collages, a new genre of art. This resulted in the 1947 publication of the limited-edition art book “Jazz.”
A short time after becoming familiar with the works of Vincent van Gogh, Matisse traveled to England to study the landscape and romantic paintings of J.M.W. Turner (1775–1851), one of the most well-known British artists of the nineteenth century.
When he returned, he began collecting artworks to use as inspiration, including a Paul Gauguin painting, a Vincent Van Gogh drawing, a Paul Cézanne piece titled “The Three Bathers,” and an Auguste Rodin plaster bust.
The artist Matisse in the late 19th century is thought to have been most influenced by Cézanne’s work, particularly in color and design.
Henri Matisse lived quite an exciting life, from ditching his profession in law to his turbulent marriage. His life is full of details that will not be exhausted in one article. Instead, this article has highlighted some of the most exciting facts about the life of Henri Matisse, the artist.