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Taresha Langston English 1103 Raymond November 21st, 2013 The Wild Beast of Painters Henri Matisse was born on December 31, 1869 in Le Cateau-Cambrsis, France to Anna and Hippolyte Matisse. Raised in Bohain-en-Vermandois, throughout his childhood he was constantly surrounded by textiles and grains. In 1887, Matisse went off to study law were he got his certificate but in 1890, Matisse went through a career change and decided to go to art school. This is where he excelled in the traditional painting of the still life and landscapes. During this time Jean-Baptiste-Simon Chardin, a French painter who specialized in still life painting, was a big influence on Matisse, for he painted four different copies of Chardins painting. (Spurling) It wasnt until later in his life when Matisse started working with expression through color, mostly due in part to a visit with John Russell. Matisse credits Russell with the teaching of the color theory to him. In 1906, Matisse met a painter 11 years younger than him who stood shorter and stockier than the taller and more polished Matisse. This painter was Pablo Picasso, and a friendly rivalry grew between Matisse and Picasso but it was really the fans of both artists were the tension was really felt. 1917 was the year Matisse went back to France to live out the rest of his life and his works he created there had a sense of relaxation to them. During the year of 1939 Matisse and his wife of forty-one years were separated. Two years later, he underwent a colostomy and was taken care of by a former model of his, a Russian woman. He died at the age of 84 on November 3rd 1954 in Nice, Alpes-Maritimes, France from a massive heart attack.

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Henri Matisses fame comes mostly from his part in the fauvist movement in art. Matisse was considered spearhead the Fauve movement in France, characterized by its spontaneity and roughness of execution as well as use of raw color straight from the palette to the canvas. Matisse combined pointillist color and Czannes way of structuring pictorial space stroke by stroke to develop Fauvism - a way less of seeing the world than of feeling it with ones eyes. (Personal Life of Henri Matisse) This art style was created in contrast to more traditional paintings of the time where color was muted and realism was the thing to do. Matisse used broad brushstrokes and wasnt afraid to lay the paint thick upon the canvas which was seen as bizarre in the art community. The vividness of his paintings made them stand out against the dimmed and dull tones of other artists. Henri Matisse was an artist whose medium of choice wasnt a constant one. Matisses works ranged from sculptures to drawings and paintings. Many of his drawings were done in ink on paper, but they were also made from combinations of watercolors, pencil, charcoal, pen and brush. Some of his other drawings were done as lithographs, which is a method of printing using a chemical process. His more well-known works are paintings. Matisses early creative process was more of a discovery into essential characters of things and how to produce an art with balance, purity, and serenity. (Personal Life of Henri Matisse) Later on in his artistic career it took a slight turn down a path of pushing the limit. He would challenge himself to create better and better works of art and try new ways to portray elements better. Matisse has a series of paintings that show this constant state of growth. He would paint something and then later on down the line of time he would repaint it. Sometimes the changes were subtle but other times the vast differences between the two were striking. Painting was the only thing is his head and that led him to improve on his techniques and skills.

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Matisse also painted not for social critique but rather he painted to create beautiful things. He is often recounted as to saying things such as that he didnt paint to save lives but only to create something so serene that all troubles of life didnt matter in that moment. (Carrier) Even though his intent wasnt to save lives, without a doubt he has for many young artists look up to his artwork and what he did. Although I personally do not paint in his style, he has been a great influence in my artistic career in the sense that he makes me want to push the boundaries of my artwork. Matisse inspires me to want to create a style by which I can call my own and have people years from now look back upon my artwork and say that I changed the art world as people knew it. Henri Matisse is arguably one of the most important painters of the 20th century. He challenged the art institution and developed, with the help of fellow painters, a whole new style that shook the art world by its core. When his first paintings under this new style were first shown in Salon d'Automne in Paris, the reaction was a great one but not in the sense of praise. There are stories of how laughter was heard from outside, coming from the room where Matisses paintings were being shown. Critic Camille Mauclair was quoted as to saying, "A pot of paint has been flung in the face of the public" while Louis Vauxcelles described the work as"Donatello au milieu des fauves!" (Donatello among the wild beasts), which was a statement referring to a sculpture in the room. (Personal Life of Henri Matisse.") Matisse changed the way art was being created with his vivid and colorful brush strokes. He was an artistic revolutionary who created and defined a movement that is now studied throughout art classes around the world, and that in itself is enough reason for Henri Matisse to be considered one of the greatest artists of the 20th century.