Henri, frz. Maler, Bildhauer und Graphiker, Le Cateau-Cambrésis 31.12.1869, +Cimiez bei Nizza 3.11.1954, Hauptmeister der frz. Kunst in der 1. Hälfte des 20. Jh., Schüler von G. Moreau, begann um 1900 - nach impressionist. Anfängen - unter dem Einfluß von Gauguin, Cézanne und Monet mit leuchtenden Farben zu malen, schon ganz im Sinne der 'Fauves', deren Mitbegründer er 1905 war. M. war abwechselnd in Paris und der Gegend von Nizza tätig, später ganz in Nizza. Unentwegt tätig, schuf M. ein riesiges Werk, welches Figurenkompositionen, Landschaften, Stilleben, Wandbilder, Theaterdekorationen, Buchillustrationen, Lithographien, Plastiken umfaßt. Schon von seiner Fauves-Zeit an suchte M. alles Körperliche, Räumliche in flächenbezogene, dekorative Werte umzusetzen. Mit leuchtenden, reinen Farben, einer einfachen Zeichnung fand er immer neue, dekorative Zeichen für alles, was er ins Bild brachte.
(1869-1954) French painter, sculptor, illustrator, and designer. He was one of the most original creative forces in early 20th-century art. Influenced by Impressionism, Post-Impressionism, and later Cubism, he developed a style characterized by surface pattern, strong, sinuous line, and brilliant color. Among his favored subjects were odalisques (women of the harem), bathers, and dancers; for example, The Dance 1910 (The Hermitage, St Petersburg). Later works include pure abstracts, as in his collages of colored paper shapes (gouaches découpées) and the designs 1949–51 for the decoration of a chapel for the Dominican convent in Vence, near Nice. He also designed sets and costumes for Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes.
In 1904 Matisse worked with Signac in the south of France in a Neo-Impressionist style. The following year he was the most important of the Fauve painters exhibiting at the Salon d’Automne, painting with bold brushstrokes, thick paint, and strong colors. He soon abandoned conventional perspective in his continued experiments with color and expressive line, and in 1910 an exhibition of Islamic art further influenced him toward the decorative. He settled in the south of France 1914. In the 1920s his colors became brighter, his lines more graceful: Odalisque in Red Trousers 1922 (Musée National d’Art Moderne, Paris) is typical. Noted among his sculptures is The Back I–IV 1909–about 1929 (Tate Gallery, London), a series of four sculptures in relief, presenting increasingly abstract images of a woman’s back.