Henri Matisse: King of the Fauves

Topics: Henri Matisse, History of painting, Fauvism Pages: 3 (1067 words) Published: October 25, 2012
Henri Matisse: King of the Fauves
"The remarkable career of Henri Matisse, one of the most influential artists of the twentieth century, whose stylistic innovations (along with those of Pablo) fundamentally altered the course of modern art and affected the art of several generations of younger painters, spanned almost six and a half decades. His vast oeuvre encompassed painting, drawing, sculpture, graphic arts (as diverse as etchings, linocuts, lithographs, and aquatints), paper cutouts, and book illustration. His varied subjects comprised landscape, still life, portraiture, domestic and studio interiors, and particularly focused on the female figure" ("Henri Matisse Biography"). Henri Matisse was one of the greatest initiators of the modern art movement which uses the combination of bold primary colors and free, simple forms.

Henri Matisse was born on December 31, 1869, in Le Cateau-Cambrésis, France. As the eldest of 3 sons, he was a sickly child and suffered from what doctors diagnosed as chronic appendicitis. "After the war of 1870–71 his family moved to Bohain-en-Vermandois, France" ("Troy 310"). His father, named Emile Hippolyte Matisse, was a merchant, whose family were weavers. His mother, named Anna Heloise Matisse (nee Gerard), was a daughter of a tanner; she made hats and painted china. Unlike many artists, he did not spend time drawing or painting as a child. He was expected to take over the family business or, with luck, become a lawyer. 

Matisse studied law from 1887 to 1891. He soon unwittingly doomed his career when, in 1890 while working as a law clerk, he began attending early morning drawing classes meant for curtain designers. While recovering from appendicitis that year, Matisse received a box of paints from his mother and and then decided to go to Paris, France, to become a painter:

He worked under Adolphe William Bouguereau (1825–1905) at the Académie Julian in Paris, but he left in 1892 to enter the studio of Gustave...
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