Henri Matisse via Wikimedia Henri Matisse via Wikimedia

Today in History – Artist Henri Matisse passes away

Fri, Nov. 3, 2017
CAIRO – 3 November 2017: November 3 is the day colorful French painter and sculptor Henri Matisse passed away at the age of 85 in Nice, France. Considered to be


rival, Matisse was a formidably influential and original artist of his own right.

Matisse was born on December 31, 1869. His family owned a flower shop and lived in an industrial city. Originally looking to study law, Matisse worked as a legal clerk and held only a casual interest in art until he suffered an illness at 21. To help him pass the time while recovering, his mother bought a set of painting supplies. Much to his father’s disappointment, Matisse fell in love with painting and eventually quit his job to follow his new passion.

[The Green Stripe (Portrait of Mme Matisse) - 1905 via woodpainter on Flickr]

By 1891 he was studying art in Paris, training under the academic method, focusing on still life realism, but also found inspiration from the likes of Van Gogh, Japanese art and the works of Edouard Manet. At the start of the 20th century he began to grow influenced by the ‘Pointillist’ art movement, which featured dots of color instead of splashes of paint or usual brushstrokes.

[The Red Room - 1908 via Gandalf's Gallery on Flickr]

Matisse held his first solo exhibit in 1904, which also saw him beginning to realize the style and vision for his art as he desired. Rather than attempt to depict the world as he saw it, Matisse was more interested in painting the world as he felt it. With a heavy focus on colors, stylized figures and atmosphere, Matisse joined a movement that would later be known as ‘Fauvism’.

[The Dance - 1909 via Sharon Mollerus on Flickr]

While originally panned by art critics, Matisse’s artwork would eventually begin to garner positive attention. Even after the decline of Fauvism, Matisse continued on with his style and studied middle-eastern art for further inspiration, helping to push his use of color in more exotic directions. As Matisse grew more comfortable and confident within his style, fame began to follow. Prominent and important collectors bought his artwork, and Matisse began to draw within the style of Cubism that Picasso pioneered, which took his art into further interesting directions.

Matisse’s unique artstyle was contrasted by the more conventional subject matter of his work, which tended to be still-lives, relatives or nudes. Through his unique eye for color and line, Matisse was able to breathe new life into even the most familiar of topics. Mattisse’s health began to decline by the 1940s, though even bedridden he continued to paint. With the help of assistants he would create paper collage artworks, and in 1947 he published an autobiographic book titled “Jazz” which featured his thoughts on life and art alongside colorful paper collage pieces.

His final work of art was a series of decorations for the Chapel of the Rosary in Venice. Matisse passed away in 1954.

[Large Reclining Nude - 1935 via Sharon Mollerus on Flickr]
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