Matisse, Henri

Born in 1869 as Henri Émile Benoît Matisse, this French artist didn’t pick up a paintbrush until he was twenty years old, when his mother bought him art supplies during his appendicitis. Matisse studied art at the Académie Julian as a student of William-Adolphe Bouguereau and Gustave Moreau. His styles shifted to Fauvism after visiting Australian painter John Russell on an island off the coast of Brittany. During that trip in 1897, Matisse was so impressed by Russell’s work with color. Thus, came the Fauve period, which for Matisse lasted from 1905 to 1908. After completing a series of brilliant masterpieces, Matisse is now regarded as one of the three artists who defined the revolutionary developments in the plastic arts, along with Picasso and Duchamp. He first was rejected as a Fauve, but by the 1920’s he was hailed as a mainstay of classical French painting and leading figure in modern art.