Henri Émile Benoît Matisse is a French painter and sculptor who, together with Pablo Picasso, is one of the most important artists of classical modernism. As the founder of Fauvism, a movement within the French avant-garde of the twentieth century, he also laid the foundations for expressionism. With his stylistic innovations, Matisse had a significant influence on modern art in France and beyond.
Henri Matisse was born on 31 December 1869 in the French Le Cateau-Cambrésis. Matisse received his artistic education at the Académie Julian, a prestigious private Parisian art academy, which also visited Emil Nolde or Fernand Léger. Later he attended the evening classes of the Paris School of Fine Arts, École des Arts décoratifs. Inspired by the works of Paul Cézanne, William Turner and Edvard Munchs, influenced by the study of the Neo-Impressionist color composition, Matisse developed his own colourful style, with which he was to become famous. When Matisse and his friends presented their color-intensive works at the Paris Salon d'Automne in the autumn of 1905, the art critics show themselves indignantly and describe him and his colleagues contemptuously as "les Fauves", the wild beasts. Matisse achieved his artistic breakthrough a short time later with his work "Le bonheur de vive", which he shows in 1906 at the Salon des Indépendants. From 1908, Matisse entered an experimental phase in which both organic-liquid and arabesque forms were working, but also influenced by currents such as cubism. In the later course and against the background of the First World War, his color palette darkens clearly. It was only later, between 1917 and 1929, during his time in Nice, that the viewer once again opened up to light-flooded and colorful landscapes, portraits and still life. After a period of renewed simplicity in which he dealt with the harmony of abstraction and color, from 1940 onwards he devoted himself to the essentials. In 1944, Matisse developed the so-called "gouaches découpé", a principle of collage and shearing a scissors, which were supposed to crown his artistic work. On November 3, 1954, Henri Matisse dies of a heart attack, in his home in Nice.