Outline 1. Title


  1. Summary

  2. Thesis- Henri Matisse helped to introduce a new painting and arts culture.

  3. Introduction- Birth and background history of Henri Matisse

  4. Discussion-

  • Early works (3 works)

  • Styles and Techniques of painting

  • Henri Matisse partnerships

  • Extra hobbies

  1. Conclusion

  • Death of Henri Matisse

  • Impact of Henri Matisse in Art

  1. References

Dateof Submission:

HenriMatisse: A 20thCentury Painting Guru


Inthis research paper, the life of Henri Matisse is discussed indetails. The paper tries to access the history of Matisse, as asculptor, draftsman, print maker, and a painter. He was an artistbetter recognized for the exemplary application of fluid and color inhis works. The introduction details the birth and parenthood ofMatisse, as well as his educational background, and the developmentof his “new hobby”- painting. The paper gives an in-depth view ofMatisse’s masters and influencers who helped to shape his artisticcareer.

Thepaper also tries to shift its focus on the notable paintings of HenriMatisse, as well as trying to give the reader a candid perspectiveinto the crucial techniques employed in the successful utilization ofcolor schemes and boldness, in the creation of such art masterpieces.Three of his early works are identified and discussed in details, andreinforced with pictures so as to captivate the reader.

Otherthan painting, Matisse had side hobbies such as participating ingames and sports, and therefore, the discussion endeavors to open upon that matter as well. He was also a talented sculptor as he madeseveral notable sculpture works. Matisse was a very influentialperson, and so, this paper also attempts to shed light on theacquaintances who partnered with him, in developing his works.

Finally,the paper discusses the impact of Henri Matisse towards art. Heco-partnered with other artists to give birth to Fauvismanew painting technique of the twentieth century. The death of Matisseis also highlighted in brief.

Generally,the notion that Henri Matisse was a painting guru is explored and theappropriate response is found.


HenriMatisse helped to introduce a new painting and arts culture. His useof different styles and techniques of painting facilitated theintroduction of a new approach towards painting. He challenged thenotion of the conventional use of color in art. Together with otherassociates, a new dimension to painting was permanently created.


Henri-Émile-BenoîtMatisse&nbspwasborn in the 31stof December in the year 1869. Matisse was of origin and was born innorthern French,in the&nbspNord&nbspdepartment,but later, he was nurturedin&nbspBohain-en-Vermandois,Picardie(Henri-Matisse.net). He came from a privileged background as he wasalso the eldest son of a wealthy grain trader. Therefore, his parentswere able to cater for his educational needs, and thus, Matisse wentto study law in Paris and also went on further to work as a courtclerk.as soon as he was able to qualify for a work permit in hisprofession. He complained that the job was very monotonous andreported anxiety. In his work days, Matisse was attacked byappendicitis and seriously fell sick. During this recuperationperiod, his mother brought him art supplies and from there onwards,Matisse started to paint at about 1899. However, his father wasagainst such an idea and so, the father became disappointed, butMatisse had found a new haven in painting. He later describe art as“a kind of new paradise.”

Matissereturned to Paris in 1891 as art became his new profession andlifestyle and thus pursued art at the AcadémieJulian where he came under the apprenticeship of art masters,William-AdolpheBouguereau&nbspand&nbspGustaveMoreau (Henri-Matisse.net).From the initial years, Matisse used to paint still life compositionsas well as landscapes using the conventional style utilized by hispredecessors. He was able to accomplish recognized proficiency insuch artworks. Undoubtedly, Matisse was also influenced by theartworks of other famous artist such as AntoineWatteau and SiméonChardin and other contemporary artists such as ÉdouardManet. Matisse was also obsessed with Japanese art as itinfluenced his earlier works. However, Matisse mostly drewinspiration from Chardin the painter and as an apprentice, Matisseproduced four copies of Chardin’s works in the Louvre, a historicmuseum in Paris, France (Henri-Matisse.net).

Interestingly,Matisse’s style changed completely as soon as he paid a visit toJohnPeter Russell&shy&shy, who was also a painting master. This wasaround 1896-1897, and it was one of the turning points of hisprofession. Matisse was then introduced to the exemplary works of VanGogh. In later years, Matisse credited Russell as his teacher, andthat he acquired the theory of color from him. Matisse advanced inhis painting techniques and some of his works were displayed in artexhibitions. For instance, he exhibited five of his works, in thesalon of the SociétéNationale des Beaux-Arts, and two of the works were purchased bythe national government.

Matissehad a sexual relationship with his model Caroline and the modelMarguerite was born. In addition, he married Amélie Noellie Parayre(1898), and they had two sons, Jean and Pierre, born in 1899 and 1900consecutively. Some of the models for Matisse’s works were his wifeand daughter (Henri-Matisse.net).

Undera recommendation, Matisse travelled to London to familiarize himselfwith the painting technique of J.M.W Turner, and at this same periodhe took a trip to Corsica where he acquired extra proficiency. InFebruary of 1899, he returned to Paris, and found other workassociates such as AlbertMarquet&nbsp, and where he also met other painting masters suchas JeanPuy and&nbspJulesFlandrin. He was deeply caught in the admiration of otherartists’ works and in the process he purchased some of them. Insuch purchase of the works that struck his eyes, Matisse went intodebt. Some of the great works from notable artists were present inMatisse’s house (Henri-Matisse.net).

Mostimportantly, Matisse acquired a new inspiration from Cézanne`s senseof pictorial structure and color technique. After reading “D`EugèneDelacroix au Néo-impressionisme&quot, an essay from Paul Signac, heembraced the use of Divisionist&nbsptechniquein most of his 1898-1901 paintings.

Matissebecame a new master in painting and also sculpturing. In 1899, hemade his first attempt by reproducing Antoine-LouisBarye sculpture and went on to sacrifice most of his time infinishing TheSlave in 1903.


  • Early works (3 painting works)

HenriMatisse had numerous early works. Below are three famous works thathe did:

  1. Woman ReadingThis painting was produced in 1894. This was a major work by Matisse because it was his breakthrough masterpiece, and had a warm reception from critics. It was first exhibited in the Salon du Champ-de-Mars. The painting utilized oil on canvas and a woman is painted in calm and tranquil scene. The woman sits while reading a book and his back is shown to the viewer. The room is given an artistic impression of a studio, such as the use of hanging artworks on the wall and in an untidy environment. The woman is deeply immersed in reading that she does not notice the condition of her home. The painting is rather an emphasis on the similarities that the home has in line with an art studio, which is also an “artist’s home.” The painting is a property of the Museum of Modern Art in Paris (Kemperartmuseum).

Figure1-Woman Reading (1894)

  1. Still Life with Oranges II (1899)-This was also an oil on canvas painting that was done on the experimental stages of his carrier. In the painting, there is a vibrant color scheme complimented with a visible brushwork that showcases a bowl of oranges, a coffee cup outline and a green pitcher, all resting on a sketchy blue tabletop. The painting maybe considered as unfinished or maybe finished because there is a visible bare canvas underneath the table. Nonetheless, it depicts the successful utilization of tertiary and complementary colors to bring an effect of form and space. The technique is unique in that in creates the anticipation of Matisse’s Fauvist period, whereby unnatural colors were utilized to add a new dimension of emotional intensity to his paint works. (Kemperartmuseum).

Figure2-Still Life with Oranges II (1899)


  1. Blue Pot and Lemon (1897)This is a still life painting using oil on canvas: a unity of light and color, depicting nature and exemplifying the impressionism movement. Light comes from the window and vibrantly penetrates the room hence filling the painting with colored reflections. The solid representation of the objects is controlled by the strength of the light’s vibrancy. In this impressionist technique, color is subordinate to light and thus the pot and lemon appear to be dull and supporting the composition (Kemperartmuseum).

Figure3-Blue Pot and Lemon (1897)

  • Styles and Techniques of painting

Matisseis considered as the greatest artist of the 20thcentury, and probably one of the rivals to Pablo Picasso. He began asaPost-Impressionist artistand later accomplished the leading position in Fauvism.He was initially fascinated by Cubism but quickly rejected it andopted to use color as the baseline for expressive, attractive andmonumental paintings. Predominantly, he sought to exploit still lifecompositions and nude subjects in most of his career years. Matissealso made a significant influence to collageas he used cut-out colors to make collage works (Theartstory.org).

Exampleof Matisse’s Techniques

  • He used white canvas and oil paintings to create a light-filled atmosphere to his Fauvism works. He opted to employ contrasting pure sections of unmodulated color instead of exploiting modelling or shading to bring volume and structure to paintings.

  • Matisse’s work were mainly decorative and pleasured derived. However, his success in manipulating color and pattern, is unquestionably disorienting and disturbing.

  • He incorporated the use of outside culture in his technique, and this evident by the utilization of flatness of Japanese prints in some of Matisse’s decorative works. He also employed some of the decorative techniques he learned from the Islamic art in North Africa.

  • Matisse used human figures as media for expressive art. He chose to fragment the images harshly with use of loose brush strokes while sometimes he chose to treat them as curvilinear and attractive components. Some of the paintings represent mood and behavior of the models (Theartstory.org).

  • Henri Matisse partnerships

Matissewas involved with numerous artists particularly in theFauvismera. Matisse was a painting guru who together with the other artistssuch as Andre Derain, propagated the use of Fauvismasthe new approach towards painting. Furthermore, Matisse along withPablo Picasso and Marcel Duchamp were a crucial link in theinnovative advancements in the plasticart forms inthe early 1900-1906 (Henri-Matisse.net).

  • Extra hobbies

HenriMatisse was an all-rounder as he was also interested in sports andgames as well as sculpture works such as the LeSerf,done in (1900-1904) (Henri-Matisse.net).He established himself as renowned poet in Paris. This was evident bythe fact that he liked to read poems before he started any paintingwork.


  • Death of Henri Matisse

Followinga heart attack, Matisse died in 1954 at the age of eighty four.

  • Impact of Henri Matisse in Art

Withhis dynamic talent, he brought the establishment of balance, purityand serenity in the art world. His works were devoid of politicalexpressions and suggestive opinions, and therefore, his works instillcomfort, balanced satisfaction, refuge and anticipation in a viewer’simagination. In his painting, Joyof Life (Le Bonheur de Vivre) (1905-06), Matisse was able to distanthimself from Signac’s renowned style of Pointillism. In thatpainting, Matisse used broad color schemes and linear figures toachieve a new technique that was immediately praised by critics. Hewas more concerned with the use of free color that paved the way forexpressive works, and allowed for a free-way to represent the objects(Henri-Matisse.net).

Nowadays,most of his works are displayed in museums and used as study works.


Henri-Matisse.net.The Personal Life of Henri Matisse. Retrieved 12thMarch, 2016 from http://www.henri-matisse.net/biography.html

Kemperartmuseum.Artwork Detail. Retrieved 12thMarch, 2016 fromhttp://www.kemperartmuseum.wustl.edu/collection/explore/artwork/887

Theartstory.org.Retrieved 12thMarch, 2016 from http://www.theartstory.org/artist-matisse-henri.htm