10 Henri Matisse Facts

Here are ten facts about Henri Matisse, the famous French artist.

  • Henri Matisse was born on 31st December 1869.
  • He trained as a lawyer, but decided to become a painter.

  • In 1891 he studied at the Academie Julian in Paris, learning from the artists William-Adolphe Bouguereau and Gustave Moreau.
  • At the beginning of his career, Matisse focused on painting landscapes and still-lifes in a traditional style. Following a meeting with the Australian artist, John Peter Russell, Matisse’s style changed. He started to produce work influenced by the Impressionist movement and he also admired the work of Cezanne.
  • Matisse’s style evolved and he began to use strong colours and lose some of the realistic qualities of Impressionism. He became part of the Fauves (wild beasts), and exhibited his work alongside Georges Braque, Raoul Dufy and Gustave Moreau.
  • In 1906, Matisse met Pablo Picasso and they became good friends.
  • Matisse started to create large scale cut paper collages. He called the technique ‘painting with scissors’.
  • Henri’s daughter, Marguerite, was a member of the French Resistance during World War 2. She was captured, tortured and was sent to the Ravensbruck concentration camp. Luckily, she managed to escape from the train.
  • Matisse died of heart failure in 1954. He was 84.
  • Matisse’s son, Pierre, opened a gallery in New York. He exhibited the work of many great modern artists (in addition to the work of his father), such as: Joan Miro, Alberto Giacometti and Marc Chagall.

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