Henri Matisse was born in Cateau-Cambresis, France. He studied at university level for one year, winding up in the legal research department. He stumbled on painting while convalescing and entered the School of Fine Arts (Bouguereau studio) before moving on to the Gustave Moreau studio where he met Marquet, Rouault, Camoin and Manguin. In 1898 he met Derain.

In 1905, at the Salon de l’Automn, Fauvism was born. Matisse, who would front the movement, stood out thanks to his instinctive confidence in radiant colors. This was an art form, as far as he was concerned, that was both fashionable and sophisticated, but mainly characterized by his invention of wide-open fields of color. Matisse turned portraits into landscapes; after a Pointillist period (a myriad of little dabs of color applied to canvas), all of the hues would vibrate in a sort of chromatic dream. The genius lies in the disposition of a painting’s elements, the true art being the perfect arrangement of the ensemble, the decoration, while excluding the superfluous.

The exhibition of his 100th anniversary in New York will be greeted by the American critics as “the most beautiful exhibition in the world”! Every Matisse show brings in the crowds, and visitors know today the privileged place Matisse occupies in the history of 20th century art. This is partly due to the absolute power he breathed into the colors that danced on his canvas. Matisse is a legend and every one of his exhibitions is a huge success.  


Henri Matisse, Farandole, 1938
Henri Matisse, Femme Nue, 1935
Henri Matisse, Etude de Nu, Visage couvert , 1927
Henri Matisse, Quatre études d'une ballerine (Study)
Henri Matisse, Nu (1922)