We wish you a happy birthday, Henri Matisse! Matisse, perhaps one of the greatest masters of art of all time was born on this day, December 31, 1869. He is best known as a painter. He is commonly given credit for being one of the three artists (the other two being Pablo Picasso and Marcel Duchamp) as being a revolutionary painter that set the tone for the twentieth century.
Matisse was born and raised in France. When he was in his late teens, he moved to Paris to study law and went on to work as a court administrator. He began painting at the age of twenty, after his mother bought him art supplies to occupy himself as he was recuperating from appendicitis. He fell in love with painting instantly, and began to study at Académie Julian.
Matisse was highly influenced by the works of many masters before him, such as Antoine Watteau, Nicholas Poussin, and by artists that were modern to him, such as Edouard Manet, as well as by Japanese art.
In 1906, Picasso and Matisse met and created a friendship that lasted their entire lives. They were often compared, but the marked difference between the two painters is that while Matisse preferred to draw from nature, whereas Picasso drew more from imagination.
In the 1950s, in the years nearing his death, he continued to work, designing glass windows and decorations of the Chapelle du Rosaire, and it is often known known as the Matisse chapel. Before dying of a heart attack at age 84, he established a museum dedicated to his work, known as the Matisse Museum in Le Cateau. His legacy lives on through his deeply evocative paintings.
By Maki Kern