Henri Matisse was a French artist who worked as a draughtsman, sculpture, printmaker and most importantly painter. He was born in Nord-Pas-de-Calias, France and grew up in Northeastern France but went off to Paris to study law at the age of 19. Shortly thereafter he began to paint. In 1891 he became a student of William-Adolphe Bouguereau, focusing his art on still lifes, landscapes, and Chardin paintings in the Louvre. But ultimately it was John Peter Russell who Matisse credits with teaching him about color.
Matisse’s prominence in Modern Art has been cemented by his near ubiquity in international museums. His style was unique and while it evolved over the course of his artistic career his expressive use of color. The first artistic movement Matisse was associated with was the Fauves who used bold and wild colors that were often different than the natural colors of the objects being displayed. Matisse became friends with many of the major artists in Montparnasse and was influential in exchanging ideas with artists like Derian and Picasso.
Matisse’s work continued to mature and in 1910 he did what many consider to be his most important work Le Danse for the Russian patron Sergei Shchukin. In 1917 Matisse left Montparnasse for the French Riviera. His work began to become more simplified in form and while he retained his work ethic the pictures from this later time in his life appear to be more relaxed.