Famous French Artists - Henri Matisse
Henri Matisse was a well known French artist, born in 1869 in Le Cateau, France to Emile Matisse and Heloise Gerars. Henri Matisse made his own contributions to art by working as a portraitist, draughtsman, print maker and sculptor. He was well known for his Fauve style and also for the classical approach he later adopted in his paintings on canvas.
Henri Matisse went to Paris in 1887 where he graduated in law and worked as a court administrator in Le Cateau-Cambresis. He got attracted to painting on canvas in 1890 when he was confined to bed following an intestinal operation. In 1891, he moved to Paris to study art and later became a great portraitist, sculptor and designer in the late 1900s.
In 1904, he held his first exhibition at Vollard's gallery and in 1905, moved south with the aim of working with Andre Derain, who was also a painter and the supporter of Fauvism. In the same year, Matisse along with other artists called "Fauves" exhibited their works at Salon d'Automne. The paintings exhibited there included Matisse's portrait - Woman with a Hat and Open Window. Most of the exhibited works except Woman with a Hat met with strong disapproval. The Fauvist movement headed by Henri Matisse and Andre Derain declined and lasted only until 1907.
Henri Matisse was an active participant in the great gathering of artistic talent in Montparnasse and his finest works including portraits on canvas done during the period between 1906 and 1917. Matisse's association with Sergei Shchukin, the Russian art collector inspired him to create La Danse, heralded as one of his major works. The other major painting he had done for Shchukin is Music (1910).
The orientalist odalisque paintings on canvas by Matisse can be considered to be characteristic of the post-World War-I period. After 1930, Matisse's canvases show an active and simplified approach. It was during 1931-33 that he painted the decorative composition The Dance for the Barnes Foundation in Pennsylvania. In 1934-35, Matisse created cartoons for carpets, based on James Joyce's Ulysses.
In 1939, Matisse and his wife Noellie separated. In the 1940s, Matisse worked at Mourlot Studios in Paris as a graphic artist and produced lots of illustrations and lithographs for books. In 1941, he was bound to the wheelchair after undergoing surgery for cancer. His assistants supported him in his later life and with their help; he created large scale cut paper collages often called gouaches decoupes. After the Second World War, the artist turned to monumental compositions, sketches and interior decorations for buildings.
During his last years, he spent most of his time in creating cut-outs, brush drawings and also doing interior design works. This great artist died in 1954 at the age of 84 following a heart attack.