Henri Matisse was born in 1869 in a small town near the northern border of France. Trained as a lawyer, while he was in his twenties he abandoned the law in order to paint. His vividly painted works, along with his paper cut-outs, have earned him a prominent place in art history. Matisse developed his own innovative techniques like: contrasting colours, simplifying forms, impasto and scraping. His method produced paintings of pure colours and the white of exposed canvas to create a light-filled atmosphere. Rather than using modelling or shading to lend volume and structure to his pictures, Matisse used contrasting areas of pure, unadjusted colour. He emerged as a Post-Impressionist, and was known as the leader of the French movement Fauvism. Although interested in Cubism, he rejected it, and instead decided to use colour as the foundation for expressive, decorative, and often monumental paintings. Henri Matisse was heavily influenced by art from other cultures and artists. Having seen several exhibitions of Asian art, and having travelled to North Africa, he incorporated some of the decorative qualities of Islamic art, the angularity of African sculpture, and the flatness of Japanese prints into his own style. He also was influenced by Gauguin, Cézanne, and van Gogh. Mentor Camille Pissarro. He was one of the great masters of still life in 20th century art. Artists are usually seen as people of their own time who reflect the world they live in. Not so Matisse. He lived through an age of extraordinary technological growth that reshaped the world in the 20th century. Matisse also witnessed some of humanity's darkest moments: two world wars, the holocaust and the dropping of the atomic bomb etc. Yet despite his exposure to this era of uncertainty and change, there is nowhere in his work that can you find any hint of protest, or an ideological stance, or even any reference to the momentous events of his time. His art is oblivious to the problems of...
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