Art History: Artist Spotlight: Henri Matisse
Occupation: Artist, Painter
Born: December 31, 1869 in Le Cateau-Cambrésis, France
Died: November 3, 1954 in Nice, France
Famous works: The Dinner Table, Woman with a Hat, The Desert: Harmony in Red, Le Rifain assis, The Red Studio
Style/Period: Fauvism, Modern Art
Becoming a Painter
In 1889 Henri came down with appendicitis. During his recovery his mother got him some art supplies for something to do. He fell in love with painting and art. He decided he wanted to become an artist. His father was very disappointed.
Henri began to explore painting. His mother encouraged him not to follow the normal rules of art, but to try out new things and to paint his emotions. He spent a year studying art at the Academie Julian in Paris, but left to train under the artist Gustave Moreau, where he could explore more modern styles of painting.
In 1897, Matisse met painter John Peter Russell. Russell introduced him to impressionism and to the work of van Gogh. It opened up a new world to Matisse.
Matisse painted his first masterpiece in 1897. It was called The Dinner Table. He continued to paint being influenced by artists such as van Gogh and Cezanne. He studied the works of J.M.W. Turner as well and even took on some of the style of Pointillism from Seurat.
the early 1900s Matisse developed a new style. He began to paint with bright masses of colors that were freely applied. He used the colors to express emotion often using colors that had nothing to do with the natural colors of the subject. In 1905 Matisse, together with fellow artists Maurice de Vlaminck and Andre Derain, exhibited their new style to the world. One critic called them "fauves", which meant "wild beasts". The name stuck and their style of art was called Fauvism.
One of Matisse's 1905 paintings was Woman with a Hat. In this painting you can see that he uses bright and unnatural colors to paint the woman. It brings a different level of emotion to the painting. Although Matisse was initially criticized by some for this new style, Woman with a Hat was purchased by major art collectors, giving Matisse renewed confidence.
See images below :
Woman with a Hat
The Red Studio
The Red Studio was painted by Matisse in 1911, near the end of the Fauvism movement. During this time he began experimenting with flat areas of color. The painting is of Matisse's art studio. The paintings shown were his most recent paintings at the time. You can see that Matisse was not worried about making the painting look like a studio, but rather to create an interesting arrangement of colors and shapes. The Red Studio.
In his later years, Matisse began to experiment with cutouts. He would cut out colored paper and make collages. He released a book of these cutouts called Jazz that was very popular. Some of his cutouts have become famous pieces of artwork including The Blue Nude, The Knife Thrower, and Icarus.
Matisse is considered one of the founders of Fauvism art. He is also considered one of the leading figures of modern art as his paintings and art influenced many artists throughout the 20th century.
Interesting Facts about Henri Matisse
He was good friends with artist Pablo Picasso. They later became rivals.
Major patrons of Matisse included Americans Gertrude Stein and the Cone Sisters. They purchased a number of his paintings. He also introduced them to Picasso, whose paintings they also purchased.
He ran a small art school called Academie Matisse in Paris between 1908 and 1911.
Some of his paintings have sold for over $20 million.
Movie star Al Pacino is set to play the role of Henri Matisse in a movie called Masterpiece.
More examples of Henri Matisse's Art:
Look up images of Le Mur Rose, Woman Reading
Create a Color Wheel - talk about Primary and secondary colors, Complimentary Colors and Contrasting colors.
How do colors make you feel? Fauvism experiment
Painting people using bright colors- Trace your profile on a page and draw inside what is in your imagination. Paint bright colors filling the background.
Self Portrait - How do you see yourself?
Painting a friend- How do others see you?
Matisse style Cutouts with colored paper
Arrange cutouts on wall to make a big mural
What is an Art Studio?
Design and set up an art studio space
Explore patterns and play with Shapes
Review names of shapes and design new shapes
There are always flowers for those who want to see them.
What I dream of is an art of balance.
I don't paint things. I only paint the difference between things.
Drawing is like making an expressive gesture with the advantage of permanence.
Derive happiness in oneself from a good day's work, from illuminating the fog that surrounds us.
An artist must never be a prisoner. Prisoner? An artist should never be a prisoner of himself, prisoner of style, prisoner of reputation, prisoner of success, etc.
You study, you learn, but you guard the original naivete. It has to be within you, as desire for love is within the lover.
Impressionism is the newspaper of the soul.
It has bothered me all my life that I do not paint like everybody else
I had so much fun learning about Matisse with my students and making art inspired by him! I hope you find joy in this process too.
Modern day Artist’s that create in this Style:
Ashley Mary - Minneapolis, MN USA
Lisa Congdon - Portland Oregon, USA