Henri Matisse (1869 – 1954)
Born in northern France, he was one of the most influential artists of XIX century, by working on all media and introducing a new way to use color. He studied law and he worked into a legal office, but he soon started taking drawing classes, until he started drawing when he was 21, during a period of recovery from an illness. In 1891 he moved to Paris, where he started his artistic training: he studied following the academic method (working from models and copying the Old Masters), but he also entered in contact with the Post-Impressionist movement, especially with Cezanne and Van Gogh. During the 1890’s he participated to his first exhibitions, and his first one-man show occurred in 1904, at Ambroise Vollard’s gallery. He was under the influence of Seurat and Signac, who used to paint adopting the technique of Pointillism. The real breakthrough occurred in 1904-5: after a trip to Saint-Tropez he started creating bold, bright and dappled paintings, not detailed and with strong outlines, which were soon nicknamed as fauves by the critic. Although his new use of saturated colors, his subjects were always traditional: feminine nudes, interiors, landscapes, portraits. Into his artworks he wanted to capture moods, emotions and sensations, and with his innovative style he reached the greater degree of success. He established a big studio in Paris, and his paintings conquered the approval of public, collectors and critics. He kept working until old age and he died in Nice.