Henri Matisse The Great French Painter

Mary Miller, writter

Henri Matisse was one of the leading artists in starting the fauvist  art movement. He was born in France in 1898 and died in 1939. He is a classic painter in that he does many landscapes, portraits, and still lives. One thing that separates Matisse from other impressionists, is the colors he uses, he uses bright and pastel colors only. This is very interesting because the difficulty of making a good painting without depth or value is difficult and rare in painting. Matisse uses awesome and exciting colors along with big blocked shapes that somehow turn into a picture that registers to the viewer. He was an artist after the impressionist movement, and he has many impressionistic qualities in his work, but it is the colors that he uses that differentiate him and lead him to be prominent artist in starting the fauvism movement. Fauvism actually translates to “wild beast.” 

Henri Matisse, like many other famous painters did not always know he wanted to be a painter. He did not get into painting until he was in his 20s and it was because he had appendicitis which limited his movement so he decided to take on art. Although his famous works do not follow the traditional painting techniques, he did learn how to paint that was as well. Starting out he mastered the techniques and traditions fist before he began to experiment with colors and shapes. In the beginning of his painting journey he took lessons at acedemi Julian, where his instructor was very “academic” meaning only taught and believed in traditional looking art. Over the years Matisse developed his painting skills and his work was presented in some smaller galleries. The shift in his career was when he painted a dinner table with fruits and place settings on them, but in the painting some of his classic bright colors started to show through in his work.

100 X 131 cm
oil on canvas
1897 (https://www.wikiart.org/en/henri-matisse/the-dinner-table-1897)

This was a very controversial painting at the time, people believed that there shouldn’t be that kind of color in a painting. Matisse was different because he would use colors that weren’t actually there, so he kinda just made up his own colors, and people did not think that was ok. Obviously not everyone didn’t like his bright colors because from there he grew to be the famous painter he is today.