Discontinued, Limited Supply Available!
Interior: Pallette with Brush
Henri Matisse Concisus Genus
Henri Matisse, one of the best known artists of the 20th century, was a painter, draftsman, printmaker and sculptor, known primarily for his use of color. Initially labeled a Fauve, by the 1920s he was hailed as an upholder of the classical French painting tradition. Born in France in 1869, he was the first son of parents who owned a seed business. In 1887, he went to Paris to study law, working as a court administrator. He began to paint two years later, when his mother brought him art supplies during a period of convalescence following an appendicitis attack. He discovered "a kind of paradise" as he later described it, and decided to become an artist, deeply disappointing his father. Initially he painted still-lifes and landscapes in the traditional Flemish style. In 1897, painter John Peter Russell introduced him to the work of Van Gogh (who had been a good friend of Russell but was unknown at the time). Matisse's style changed dramatically. Influenced by the works of the post-Impressionists Cézanne, Gauguin, and Van Gogh, and also by Japanese art, he made color a central element of his paintings. In 1894, he had a daughter, Marguerite, with one of his models. In 1898 he married Amélie. The two raised Marguerite and had two sons, Jean (who became a sculptor) and Pierre (who became a prominent art dealer). Marguerite often served as a model for Matisse, and she supported him by opening a hat shop. Matisse’s first solo exhibition was in 1904, but met with little success. In 1905, Matisse and a group of artists now known as "Fauves" exhibited together. Their work was condemned, but his Woman with a Hat was bought by important tastemakers Gertrude and Leo Stein. The decline of the Fauvist movement after 1906 did nothing to affect the rise of Matisse; many of his finest works were created between 1906 and 1917, when he was an active part of the great gathering of artistic talent in Montparnasse, even though he did not quite fit in, with his conservative appearance and strict bourgeois work habits. Around 1904 he met Pablo Picasso, who was 12 years younger. They were brought together at the Paris salon of Gertrude Stein and her companion Alice B. Toklas. The two men became life-long friends as well as rivals. In 1917 Matisse relocated to the French Riviera, where he liked the light. He stayed there the rest of his life, living in hotels where his wife and children came to visit. Here, his companion was a Russian named Lydia, who modeled for him and assisted him with everything, even as nurse to Amélie, who was often ill. Due to the relationship with Lydia, Amélie separated from Henri in 1939. During WWII, when France was occupied by Germany, Matisse didn’t leave France, as many other artists did, and later was acclaimed a hero. After being diagnosed with cancer, he was left wheel-chair bound. With the aid of assistants he set about creating cut paper collages, often on a large scale, a technique he called “painting with scissors”. His Blue Nudes series is a prime example of this technique. In 1947 he published Jazz, a limited-edition book containing collage cut-outs, accompanied by his written thoughts. Matisse had a heart attack and died in his daughter Marguerite’s arms at age 84. He is interred in the cemetery of the Monastere Notre Dame de Cimiez and a Matisse Museum was opened in the area.