About the artwork
About the ArtistHenri Matisse (1869-1954) was born in Le Cateau-Cambrésis (Nord) as the son of a grain merchant in the Picardy region of northern France.
After studying law he worked as a clerk. He became seriously ill, when Henri Matisse was 21 years old. During the phase of his recovery Matisse started painting and discovered his love for art, which should become his life-long passion.
In 1892, he gave up his career as a lawyer. He attended art classes at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris and his works were influenced by the impressionist and post-impressionist painters Pisarro, Cezanne, van Gogh, Gauguin and Paul Signac and by the paintings of W. Turner.
After an exhibition of their works in 1905 at the Salon d'Automne the group around Matisse and Andre Derain was ironically and pejoratively dubbed Les Fauves, which literally means The Wild Beasts. From 1905 to 1906 Matisse painted one of his most iconic works, The Joy of Life. It was bought by the famous art collector Dr. Albert C. Barnes.The American writer Gertrude Stein and her brother Leo were early collectors and supporters of Matisse paintings. Another admirer became Pablo Picasso with whom he exchanged paintings in 1907.
After World War I, Matisse had gained a high reputation and was an internationally recognized artist. In 1917 he left Paris and moved to Nice in Southern France where he remained until the end of his life. In 1925 he received the French Legion of Honor award. After 1941, when he underwent an operation for an intestinal disorder, he was bedridden much of the time; after 1950 he suffered from asthma and heart trouble. It had a devastating effect on his health and ability to paint. He was unable to stand upright in front of an easel. The artist therefore turned to another form of artistic expression. He created paper cut-outs in the same vivid, strong colors and daring compositions known from his paintings. He had an assistant and could work lying in bed or sitting comfortably in an arm-chair.
Henri Matisse died on November 3, 1954 in Nice as an internationally celebrated artist.