Henri Matisse (French, 1869–1954) was one of the most influential artists of the 20th century, whose stylistic innovations fundamentally altered the course of modern art. In a career spanning six decades, his achievements in painting, sculpture, drawing, graphic arts, book illustration and paper cutouts earned the acclaim of collectors, critics and several generations of younger artists.
Matisse initially trained as a lawyer before developing an interest in art. He moved to Paris to study painting in 1891. He followed the traditional academic path first at the Académie Julian and then at the École des Beaux Arts, but he also discovered the dynamic and experimental contemporary Parisian art scene. He began to experiment to create his own pictorial language. In 1905, Matisse exhibited at the Salon d’Automne with André Derain, and their shockingly bold experiments using color to structure their paintings brought them the derisive nickname “Les Fauves” (Wild Beasts).
Matisse aimed to discover the “essential character of things” through art that expressed balance and serenity, as he explained in his Notes of a Painter (1908). He experimented throughout his career with abandoning conventional perspective and form