Henri Matisse (1869-1954) was a French artist best known for his revolutionary, influential paintings using expressive color and exaggerated forms. His use of color and forms in order to express emotion over a sixty year career, all the while reinventing traditional subject matter — nudes, figures in landscapes, portraits, and interior views — made him one of the most influential artists of the 20th century.

Matisse began painting at the age of 21 after rejecting a career in law. Inspired by Post-Impressionists like Cezanne and van Gogh at the beginning of his artistic career, eventually he would come under the pointillist influence of Seurat by the turn of the 20th century. After his first one-man exhibition, Matisse took a trip to southern France that inspired the bright canvases we associate with him today. Concerning the work Matisse produced during this period, a contemporary critic referred to him and other artists working in this way “fauves” or “wild beasts.” Matisse came to represent the artistic movement of Fauvism, emphasizing the emotional weight of continuous curved line combined with expressive brushwork.

Matisse enjoyed a great deal of success and fame after coming into his own style, with the first academic publication on Matisse appearing in 1920, marking him as significant in the history of modern art while he was still producing work. He continued innovating new ways to evoke situational moods through shape and color, including his famous series of paper “cut-outs”, until his death in 1954.

For more information about works currently available from this artist, please contact the gallery.

← Back to list of artists