Henri-Emile-Benoit Matisse was born in Picardy, France, in 1869 into a wealthy family.
In 1889, whilst Matisse was recovering from an operation his mother provided him with some art materials. It was during this period that he decided he wanted to be an artist, thereby greatly disappointing his Grain Merchant father.
Matisse studied at the Academy Julien as a student of William-Adolphe Bouguereau where he became acquainted with John Russell, the Australian artist. It was Russell who introduced him to Impressionism and the art of Vincent van Gogh.
Upon the advice of Pissarro, Matisse visited London to learn more about the artist Joseph William Mallord Turner. Upon his return to Paris he painted with Albert Marquet and Andre Derain and it was with Derain that Matisse formed Les Fauves or the "The Wild Beasts" as they became known. The name was derived from a derogatory comment by a French art critic who implied that their art consisted of primitive bold clashing colors.
The Fauve Art Movement was brief but influential in the history of art, and it only influenced Matisse' paintings for a short time. However, his use of bright colors and over-emphasized form prevailed throughout his artistic life.
Henri Matisse is recognized as one of the greatest influences on modern art. He was a prolific artist and the diversity of his work is matched only by that of Picasso. His incredible 65 year career as an artist encompassed drawing, painting, and sculpture and paper cut-outs.
Le Bonheur de Vivre, or Joy of Life was painted in c1905 and was shown at the 1906 Exhibition Salon des Artistes Independants. It is the greatest of Matisse' Les Fauve paintings, capturing a pastoral scene in harmony with nature.
Red Room aka Harmony in Red is another fauve painting which was derided when it was exhibited at the Salon Automne. However, is now considered by Matisse art lovers as one of his finest paintings.
In 1904 Matisse was staying in Saint-Tropez as the house-guest of Paul Signac and there he painted Luxe Calme et Volupte. This early Matisse Pontillism Movement painting was inspired by Georges Seurat who devised the technique of painting with small dots of color to form an image.
The Dance 1910 was commissioned by Russian art collector Sergei Shchukin and subsequently bequeathed to the Hermitage Museum St Petersburg, where it remains and forms part of their permanent collection. An earlier version with a palette of lighter colors, Dance 1 1909 is held by MoMa.
Matisse worked intermittently on Bathers by a River 1917 over an 8 year period. It is considered an important painting as it harks back to Cubism an art movement which Matisse had previously rejected.
Matisse reproductions can be purchased online from our extensive catalog of replica paintings