Henri Matisse is considered one of the world’s greatest artists of all time. His works are displayed in some of the world’s top museums. Even when his physical health prevented him from being able to formally paint, Matisse would still find a way to be creative and work. Here are some interesting facts about this famous painter.
1. Matisse Had No Desire To Paint.
Many of the world’s greatest artists have always embraced their creativity. Their work begins at a young age and continues on for several decades. Matisse had a very different experience. He wanted to work in law. He even graduated from law school in Paris in 1889 and worked in a local office as a clerk at the age of 21.
2. Health Problems Brought Art To Him.
atisse would wind up suffering an episode of acute appendicitis. Doctors were able to get him into surgery and remove the inflammation, but his recovery time lasted for an extended period. Sitting there in bed with nothing to do, his mother encouraged him to give painting a try. Matisse found that he loved it. By the time he was able to go back to work, he was taking drawing classes in the morning before work and painting during the lunch breaks he received.
3. Learning Like a Sponge.
Many of the world’s artists tend to stick to a favorite style of creative work throughout their lives, but not Matisse. He craved knowledge and allowed the world’s greatest painters to influence his style. There are definite changes in the ways that Matisse approached art after meeting artists like Moreau and Cezanne. His work covers everything from traditional styling to Impressionism to collage work.
4. He Want Not a Fan Of Picasso.
Picasso and Matisse had a storied rivalry regarding their work. They have many paintings that have similar titles and styles. Some of these similar pieces were even displayed together once at a show in London. Picasso would always look at the work of Matisse and vice-versa. Matisse even once described the relationship as a boxing match. They wouldn’t meet for several years, and even though they were never really “friendly,” the mutual respect that they developed for each other would move both artists to great things.
5. A Daughter In Harm’s Way.
When the world war broke out in the 1940s, Matisse’s daughter Marguerite would wind up joining the French Resistance against Nazi occupation. She would wind up being captured and interrogated before being shipped off to a concentration camp. His daughter would wind up finding a way to escape from the train and the atrocities that awaited her at Ravensbruck. When looking at the work Matisse put together during this period of time, there is a definite anger and sadness on display.
6. A Brief Foray Into Sculptures.
In the early 1900s, Matisse shifted into a period of time when he would create a number of nude paintings. This would continue on through the 1920s as he eventually shifted his base of operations over to the French Riviera. He would wind up breaking his sculpture while working on it, so he decided to paint it during the repair process to maintain his creativity. The resulting painting would wind up being called Blue Nude and is notable for incorporating avant-garde techniques. It would wind up being burned in effigy in 1913.
7. Several Commissions Came His Way Later In Life.
After surgery in 1941, Matisse would become more and more bedridden. This would force him to change some of the styles that he would use to paint. Sometimes he would just draw with a pencil or with charcoal that was attached to a long pole. It wasn’t just painting that he would take on commissions either. He would draw illustrations for poetry and take other sketch projects to bring in some extra cash as well.
8. Always a Simple Form.
Matisse never worried about the actual details of the paintings he created beyond getting the simple forms correct. This is why his work is often referred to as Fauvism, or artwork from the “wild beasts,” because of the sylization.
In over 60 years of work, Matisse would work on sculptures, printmaking, and several other forms of media. His works incorporate brilliant colors, exaggerated forms, and express emotions like few artists have ever been able to convey. This is why he is often considered one of the most influential artists who produced work in the 20th century.