We’ll start by discussing Matisse’s life and work. Then, we’ll take a look at some of his most famous pieces, including The Dance, The Red Studio, and Blue Nude. Finally, we’ll discuss the different styles that Matisse used throughout his career, and how they evolved.
So, without further ado, let’s get started!
Early Life & Education
Matisse was born in 1869 in France. He began studying art at the young age of 15. His first works were dark and somber paintings that looked a lot like the work of Picasso from the same period. However, over time, his work became lighter and brighter.
Matisse was heavily influenced by the works of French painters Paul Gauguin, Paul Cezanne, and Henri de Toulouse Lautrec, among others. He is most well-known for his stylistic innovations in fauvism, or “the wild beasts.” Fauvism is an art movement where artists use very vibrant colors, even when painting objects in nature.
This piece was created by Matisse in 1909. It’s a colorful depiction of the movements that dance requires, featuring several women painted in blue, green, yellow, and red. The forms are distorted to create perspective, for example, the two girls in the foreground appear much larger than they would naturally.
This piece is an example of one of Matisse’s works during his “classical period.” During this time, he used mostly symmetrical figures and less vibrant colors.
The Red Studio
This piece was painted in 1911 by Henri Matisse. It depicts an interior scene of his home in Nice, France. The walls and floor of the room are bright red, and there is a table covered with an assortment of objects.
The artist used a bold color palette to capture the forms on the canvas. He also took inspiration from Japanese prints when creating this piece, using asymmetrical shapes to portray perspective effectively.
This piece was painted by Matisse in 1917. It is housed in New York’s Museum of Modern Art and depicts a blue nude woman laying on her side. She appears to be asleep, with her arms wrapped around her legs.
Rapid Evolution in Style & Techniques
After Matisse finished The Red Studio in 1911, he started to experiment with several different styles and techniques. He continued to paint nudes but began experimenting with abstract shapes and colors that organized into patterns. His later works were completely abstract, no longer resembling the human figure in any way whatsoever.
Matisse used many different methods when creating his pieces as he evolved as an artist. Some of the techniques that he used include cut-outs, paper collages, stained glass, and sculpture.
This technique is when an artist uses wire mesh or cardboard to create shapes on a canvas. Matisse started using this technique in the 1940s. It allowed him to paint flat shapes that were not determined by perspective.
He also started creating more sculptural pieces, like The Snail.
This piece was created by Matisse in 1953. It’s a colorful depiction of a snail crawling on top of several abstract geometric shapes. After this piece was finished, he began making three-dimensional sculptures out of wire mesh and other materials.