The gorgeous color and lines of Henri Matisse’s “Goldfish 1911” demonstrate the style that made him the 20th century’s most important French painter. Leaving law studies to pursue art, Matisse became a master painter, printer, sculptor, illustrator and collage artist. First labeled a Fauvist, his stunning artistic versatility included primitive art, impressionism and abstraction. Describing his art as balancing serenity, purity and comforting subjects, Matisse was acclaimed during his lifetime. Today’s artists are still profoundly influenced by his unique use of color and form.
French painter Henri Matisse (1869 – 1954) expressed joy through patterns, ornamentation and vivid colors. Given a paint set while recovering from an illness, Matisse described his discovery of art as “a kind of paradise.” Originally labeled a Fauvist, he produced early works that were remarkably mature. After seeing Impressionist and Japanese art, Matisse made color instrumental to his work, and experimented with expressive abstraction. He also decorated the Dominican nuns’ chapel at Vence, France when he was almost 80. Matisse, who was often nervous, relieved his tension through painting.