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Henri Matisse Bio
Henri Matisse


Interior With Phonograph By Henri Matisse 1905

French painter Henri Matisse expressed joy through patterns, ornamentation and vivid colors. Given a paint set while recovering from an illness, Matisse described his discovery of art as “a kind of paradise.” Originally labeled a Fauvist, he produced early works that were remarkably mature. After seeing Impressionist and Japanese art, Matisse made color instrumental to his work, and experimented with expressive abstraction. He also decorated the Dominican nuns’ chapel at Vence, France when he was almost 80. Matisse, who was often nervous, relieved his tension through painting.

"I have always tried to hide my own efforts and wished my works to have the lightness and joyousness of a springtime which never lets anyone suspect the labours it cost." ~ Henri Matisse

Henri Matisse (December 31, 1869 – November 3, 1954) was a French artist, noted for his use of color and his fluid, brilliant and original draughtsmanship. As a draughtsman, printmaker, and sculptor, but principally as a painter, Matisse is one of the best-known artists of the twentieth century. Although he was initially labeled as a Fauve (wild beast), by the 1920s, he was increasingly hailed as an upholder of the classical tradition in French painting. His mastery of the expressive language of color and drawing is apparent, in a body of work spanning over a half-century, and won him recognition as a leading figure in modern art.

Born Henri-Émile-Benoît Matisse in Le Cateau-Cambrésis, Nord-Pas-de-Calais, France, he grew up in Bohain-en-Vermandois in North-Eastern France, where his parents owned a seed business. He was their first son. He first started painting in 1889, when his mother had brought him art supplies during a period of convalescence following an attack of appendicitis.¹

Red Bedroom

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Featured Henri Matisse Posters & Art Prints

Blue Nude | Red Room

Open Window, Collioure, 1905
Open Window, Collioure, 1905

The Dance
The Dance


Blue Nude I, c. 1952


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Henri Matisse Books

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Recommended books on Henri Matisse: Matisse the Master: A Life of Henri Matisse; Jazz by Henri Matisse; Henri Matisse: Drawings 1936, A Facsimile Reproduction by Henri Matisse, Christian Zervos, Tristan Tzara, and Richard Howard; Henri Matisse: Erotic Sketches (Prestel's Erotic Sketchbook Series) by Eckhard Hollmann and Ishbel Flett; Henri Matisse: A Retrospective by John Elderfield; Matisse the Master: A Life of Henri Matisse: The Conquest of Colour, 1909-1954 by Hilary Spurling; A Second Life by Henri Matisse; Henri Matisse, 1869-1954: Master of Colour (Basic Art) by Volkmar Essers.

Available here are these Henri Matisse posters and prints, among others: Blue Nude I, Dance, One Thousand and One Nights, Icarus, Open Window, King's Sadness, Remmes et Singes, Oceanie - Le Diel, Pasiphae, Goldfish, Creole Dancer, Les Vegetaux, Knife Thrower, Buisson, Beasts of the Sea, Les Velours, Interior with Phonograph, Themes and Variations, Window at Tangiers.

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