Henri Émile Benoît Matisse (31 December 1869 – 3 November 1954) was a French artist, renowned for both his use of colour and his fluid and original draughtsmanship.
Matisse was a draughtsman, printmaker, and sculptor, but is known primarily as a painter. Commonly regarded, along with Pablo Picasso, as one of the artists who helped to define the revolutionary developments in the visual arts throughout the start of the twentieth century; Matisse was responsible for significant developments in painting and sculpture.
The intense colorism of the works he painted between 1900 and 1905 brought him notoriety as one of the Fauves (wild beasts). Many of his finest works were created in the decade or so after 1906, when he developed a rigorous style that emphasized flattened forms and decorative pattern. In 1917, he relocated to a suburb of Nice on the French Riviera, and the more relaxed style of his work during the 1920s gained him critical acclaim as an upholder of the classical tradition in French painting.
After 1930, he adopted a bolder simplification of form. His mastery of the expressive language of colour and drawing, displayed in a body of work spanning over a half-century, won him recognition as a leading figure in modern art. When ill health in his final years prevented him from painting, he continued to create an important body of work in the medium of cut paper collage.
"When Matisse dies," Pablo Picasso remarked in the 1950s,
"Chagall will be the only painter left who understands what colour really is".
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