Matisse was born in 1869 on a farm in northern France. He obtained
a diploma in law and worked as a lawyer's assistant for a period
of time in 1889.
An operation caused him to be bedridden
for most of 1890 and that was when he began to draw. The following year he gave up his career in law and became a
full-time painter, taking formal instruction in painting for the
next two years.
From 1892 to 1895, Matisse spent a lot of time
painting reproductions of masterpieces in the Louvre. He also began painting outdoors.
1896 he exhibited four paintings at the Salon de la Societe
Nationale and sold two of them. He
also saw Vincent van Gogh's paintings for the first time.
During his 1898 honeymoon in London,
Matisse met Pissarro who advised him to study the paintings of
The early 1900s were not good for Matisse. Although his
son was born in 1900, he was frequently short of cash for the next
three years and at one point was so broke he had to move back in
with his parents. Things improved in 1908. He had exhibitions in
New York, Berlin and Moscow and the following year he was able to
buy a house in France. In 1918 he had a joint exhibition with
Picasso and the following year had his work displayed in Paris and
Matisse's fame grew continually over the
next two decades and he traveled extensively. But in 1941 he had
surgery for cancer and spent much of that year working in a
wheelchair or even in bed. He enjoyed great popularity and success
during the next decade but died in 1954.
Below we list some of Matisse's most famous paintings.
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