Henri Matisse was a brilliant French painter of the twentieth century, the founder of Fauvism, a tireless experimenter and a restless researcher. Henri Matisse overturned traditional ideas about the use of color and, immersed in the search for new forms and shades, created a new direction in painting.
Biography of Henri Matisse
He was the firstborn of a grain merchant living in Le Cateau-Cambresy in northern France. From an early age, Henri helped his parents in the shop, which the elder Matisse kept in a nearby town. Despite being completely immersed in trade, he did not want to become the heir to the family business, and after graduating from the lyceum he left for the capital to study as a lawyer.
Henri passed his final exams, got the right to work in his specialty, and in 1888, returning to his native province, he entered as a clerk to a barrister. Henri Matisse was waiting for a stable life as a provincial lawyer. If not for an incident that radically changed the fate of a young man.
Henri had an attack of appendicitis. For a long two months he had to serve in forced quarantine, restoring his health, undermined by illness and surgery. To brighten up her son’s boring everyday life, his mother brought him drawing supplies. And Henri Matisse was so carried away by copying postcards that after being discharged from the hospital he entered a drawing school, after which he left the law office and went to Paris to continue his studies in painting.
He studied everywhere and everything. First at the art academy of Rodolfo Julian, then at the School of Arts, then, after entering the National Higher School of Fine Arts, as an invited student of the French symbolist Gustave Moreau. Moreau often sent his students to the Louvre, where they copied the work of the French and the Dutch, mainly classical painting.
Matisse absorbed new knowledge, not forgetting about contemporary art. Favorably on the formation of Henri as an artist was influenced by friendship with John Russell. John introduced Henri to Impressionism and to the paintings of Vincent van Gogh, Auguste Rodin and Emile Bernard. Matisse later recalled Russell as the man who initiated him into color theory.
The first major exhibition was held in 1896 as part of the Salon of the National Society of Fine Arts. The event was a success – two out of five works were acquired by the state. The painting “Reading Woman” went to the residence of the French president. And soon Matisse got married, adopted his illegitimate daughter Marguerite into his family and went with his wife to London to study the work of William Turner. Upon his return to Paris, Henri entered Eugene Carrière, then took courses with Antoine Bourdelle and even decided to try his hand at sculpture.
The creative upsurge, however, did not contribute to financial stability. Children, and by that time two sons had already been born, had to be sent to the painter’s parents. And Matisse himself went to work as a decorator. In moments of hopelessness, he even wanted to give up his favorite work, but continued to paint, mainly in the style of impressionism, looking for new ideas, periodically trying himself in pointillism.
In 1905, the artist went with friends to rest on the Mediterranean coast. And it was there, in close collaboration with André Derain, that the idea of Fauvism appeared. Fauvist experimenters presented their works as early as 1900, but Matisse became the leader of the movement, leading the movement and creating a number of bright and original works.
Matisse traveled a lot, often went to Germany, visited Russia and Africa. Having lived a fairly long and eventful life, he witnessed two wars of the 20th century and died on November 3, 1954 in Nice.