Biography of Henri Matisse (1869-1954)

French painter born on December 31, 1869 in Cateau Cambrésis, a small village to the North of France, in a family of merchants. It is known worldwide as the creator of the Fauves.

He studied jurisprudence between 1887 and 1888, at the University of Paris, which are interrupted by a long and serious illness that retains him in bed around 1890. During his convalescence he/she began to paint, and in 1891, already recovered, overcomes the opposition of his parents and abandons the race laws to enter the school Julian, where he/she studied under the direction of Bouguereau. In 1892 he/she entered in the study of Gustav Moreau, at the school of fine arts, where he/she studied painting for five years. It is there where he/she meets Rouault and Manguin. Also attending night courses at the school of decorative arts, where strikes up a friendship with Marquet.

His first exhibition dates back to 1896-97 in the Salon of the national society. That same summer meets Rodin and Pissarro and is interested in Impressionist painting. In 1898 he/she traveled to London, encouraged by Pissarro, and there discovers the work of Turner; also visit Corsica and Toulouse. The works produced during these trips are known as protofauvistas, the richness of its colour and thick filling; they are primarily landscapes. Back to Paris, he/she attends classes de Carrière, in whose workshop meets Derain and Puy for a few months. See currently to Cézanne (buys to Vollard three bathers).

It starts in the sculpture following the teachings of Rodin. In 1901 he/she exhibits at the Salon des Indépendants and Vlaminck meets. It recognizes that the work of Derain and Vlaminck is close to yours and in 1903 participated in the Salon d'Automne alongside Camoin, Derain, and Manguin. In 1904 pint luxury, calm and voluptuousness, be acquired by Signac, showing his interest in the theories and techniques of divisionism, which would soon abandon in favour of exaltation of color and the feeling of fauvism. 1905 is the year of the presentation of a new trend that the critic Vauxcelles baptize as Fauve, i.e. beasts, in the Salon d'Automne. The Stein acquired at that time the woman with Hat work. His portrait of Mrs. Matisse work cause, despite its small size, a great impact in the classroom due to the wise garish color saturation: few Fauvist pictures are just so completely supported by the color like this (Jacobus). Matisse used color here in all its expressive possibilities.

In 1906 he/she exhibited again with the Group of the Fauves (Manguin, Marquet, Puy, Derain, Van Dongen, Rouault) at the autumn Salon and made his first trip to Africa, where impress him works of folk art, especially weaving and ceramics. Paints still life with red carpet. In 1907, by Gertrud Stein, he/she met Picasso and makes his first trip to Italy. In 1908, excited by convey their ideas to the younger artists, opens an Academy that would only remain until 1911 and made his first solo exhibition in New York, in the Gallery of Alfred Stieglitz. In 1908 he/she painted his famous work harmony in red, a scene of interior with still life, figure and landscape seen through the window, where Matisse is giving this issue the grandeur that normally only reserved to the naked; the interior is decorated with an Arabesque which is reflected in the forms of the landscape in the background, which is presented as a prelude of what would later be in Africa.

In 1909 it receives from the Russian collector Schukin commissioned to paint two large panels: the dance and the music; the first, can be interpreted as how an anticubista demonstration of as figures can join through the Arabesque and the intense contrasts of color against the abstract background;... the sources of this mural are varied, from the figures of the Greek vases to Greek and Roman images of the three graces (Carra). Also in 1910 sculpts his first high relief, the back 1. In 1910 he/she made a large solo show in Paris, at the Bernheim-Jeune Gallery and travels with Marquet to Munich to visit the exhibition of Islamic art. In 1911, travels to Moscow to install panels on House of Schukin and known icons and Byzantine decorative arts, which will become an essential element in his stylistic repertoire. It is a clear example of this the Red Studio, where the simplicity of the colorful remains one of the great achievements of contemporary art, even after the accomplishments of artists such as Barnett Newman and Mark Rothko. (Jacobus). The surface of the box is matte and flat and represents the artist's Studio, this time without the artist and model, only with pictures and some other objects.

Shortly thereafter he/she traveled to Morocco with Camoin and Marquet; the summers of 1911-12 and 1912-13 passes in the North of Africa. The first summer data garden Moroccan, an almost abstract composition of Greens and roses. In 1913 it participates with several works in the Armory Show New York and Berlin secession. The outbreak of the war causes moving him and his family (he had married in 1898 Amélie Parayre with whom he/she had two sons) to Collioure, where he/she met Juan Gris. In 1915 he/she made a solo exhibition in New York Montross Gallery.

In 1916, he/she spends the winter in Nice for the first time. The placidity and luxury of the Riviera prove to be very pleased and decides to spend most of the time. It seems to me be a paradise that we have no right to analyze. Begins in his work a stage of intimacy, with interiors, nudes, odalisques and lifes as predominant themes. In 1919 he/she made his first individual exhibition in London, at the Leicester Galleries. In 1920, he/she collaborates with the ballets Russes of Diaghilev performing the works of Stravinsky sets.

In 1925 made a new trip to Italy and his style is more robust, as shown in decorative figure, which is considered to be the work of culmination of Matisse concern for nudity in an oriental decorated: the figure shows schematic and monumental. Begins to achieve apparent success (in 1927 won the prize of the Carnegie International in Pittsburgh, and sold virtually everything at the Dudensing Gallery in New York exhibition). These years Odalisque with gray pants, takes up where the orientalist themes outside of the place of origin, Paris study, which highlights its ability to create an artificial paradise,... a perpetual invitation to travel in his study... (Jacobus). Between 1929 and 1933 held it retrospective exhibitions in Berlin, Basel, New York and Paris. It receives commissions from the American collector Barnes for his Foundation in Merion, Pennsylvania. These murals take up the subject of dance, in a schematic that is perfectly suited to their decorative function, a sense harmonious, alive and moved, architecture and painting. (Matisse).

In 1940, after the French defeat, Matisse thought of emigrating to Brazil, but finally returns to Nice; in 1941 he/she suffers a serious intestinal illness; After retrieving it takes working with forces. In 1944 his wife is arrested and deported daughter, Matisse is dumped into his art. At the end of the war, sets out with Picasso in the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, then presents a major retrospective at the Salon d'Automne of Paris. Between 1948 and 1950 he/she worked in the decoration of the chapel of the Rosary in Vence (where he/she resided since 1944). Published Jazz, a collection of reproductions of the famous papiers decoupes (paper cut-outs), accompanied by a poetic text of the own Matisse. The most ambitious work made with paper cut-outs is the pool of 1952, where the figures are distorted to create the effect of being under water.

In 1949 he/she returned to Nice. Lucerne Museum organised its first major anthological exhibition, with more than three hundred works. In the last years of his life, surveys his work occur with the award of the prize of the Venice Biennale (1950), the retrospective at the National Museum of Tokyo (1951), the opening of a museum dedicated to his work in his hometown and the individual in the San Francisco Museum of art (1952). He/She died on November 3, 1954 in Nice, at the age of eighty-five.

Reading woman (oil on canvas, 1894). National Museum of modern art (Paris, France).

Although Matisse is known primarily as a painter, he/she was also an excellent sculptor and draughtsman. Throughout his long career he/she received the influences of various movements of the 19th century (neoclassicism, realism, impressionism and post-impressionism) which transformed into a modern language. Teachers who most studied were Poussin, Chardin, Watteau, Courbet, Manet and Cézanne. His historical position as leader of Fauvism, should not darken their personal achievements outside of a movement that, in reality, was short-lived and did not program. His rival in magnitude and influence was Picasso, who maintained a distanced relationship of friendship and respect for many years. The main themes of his paintings were still life, landscape, nude women and their own environment (the study).

In June 2005 the New York Metropolitan Museum presented the exhibition "Matisse: the fabric of dreams" which gathered eighty-six paintings and drawings by the artist along with his personal collection of fabrics. It failed to verify the fascination of Matisse by tissues around the world, from silks, brocades Japanese or batiks to shawls, present in many of his paintings.

Topics related


Picasso, Pablo.


CARRA, MASSIMO - the paintings of Matisse, Milan, Rizzoli, 1971.

JACOBUS, JOHN - Matisse, New York, Abrams.