French Artists

French Artists
  • Paul Cézanne
  • Gustave Courbet
  • Jacques-Louis David
  • Edgar Degas
  • Eugène Delacroix
  • Paul Gauguin
  • Claude Monet
  • Auguste Renoir
  • Nicolas Poussin
  • Henri Matisse
  • Antoine Watteau
  • Jean-François Millet
  • Charles Le Brun
  • Jean Fouquet

Henri Émile Benoît Matisse (1869 - 1954)

The French painter Matisse was born in Le Cateau-Cambrésis, in northern France, on December 31, 1869. Considered one of the most important artistic figures in 20th century art, Matisse focused especially on the use of colour and form to convey a profound emotional expression. Matisse was born into a middle-class family and originally studied law, which he practised for a time. However, in 1890, he was recovering from appendicitis and in the meantime became taken with drawing and painting.

He soon gave up his law practice and moved to Paris to formally study art. His earliest teachers were very conservative and Matisse began by making many copies of Old Master paintings. He began looking at more conservatory art, such as the work by the Impressionists, and began to experiment in general. He was also influenced by the likes of Paul Gauguin, Paul Cézanne and Vincent van Gogh.

Matisse began using bold colour images with aggressive strokes. He exhibited his work along with fellow artists André Derain and Maurice de Vlaminck, among others, in 1905 and after that exhibition he was dubbed leader of a group of painters referred to as Les Fauves (literally meaning “Wild Beasts”). This was a direct reflection of the bold, vivid colours and the distortions of form that these painters used in their work. Besides painting, Matisse also worked on lithographs, sculpture, book designs, and paper cut-outs. Later on in life he designed decorations for the Dominican chapel in Vence, France.

Matisse was fortunate in that, unlike many other painters, he was internationally famous and an acclaimed artist during his lifetime. He was very popular among critics, collectors and also among circles of uprising young artists. He passed away on November 3, 1954.

Some of Matisse’s paintings include, among others:

  • Woman with the Hat
  • The Moroccan in Green
  • The Dance
  • Red Fish