Henri Émile Benoît Matisse was 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 December 31, 1869 in the French Le Cateau-Cambrésis. Matisse received his artistic education at the Académie Julian, a prestigious private Parisian art academy, that was also attended by Emil Nolde and 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, and influenced by the study of the Neo-Impressionist color composition, Matisse developed his own colorful style, with which he was to become famous. When Matisse and his friends presented their color-intensive works at the Paris Salon d'Automne of 1905, the art critics were indignant and described 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 showed in 1906 at the Salon des Indépendants. From 1908, Matisse entered an experimental phase in which he worked with organic-liquid and arabesque forms and studied art movements such as cubism. When World War I started, the color palette of his paintings darkened clearly. It was only later, between 1917 and 1929, during his time in Nice, that he returned to light-flooded and colorful landscapes, portraits and still life. After a period of simplicity in which he dealt with the harmony of abstraction and color, from 1940 onwards he devoted himself to the reduction to the essential. When painting became impossible due to his medical condition in 1944, Matisse created collages of paper cut outs, the so-called "gouaches découpés", which became the crowning point of his oeuvre. On November 3, 1954 Henri Matisse died of a heart attack in his home in Nice.