I am continuing on with a series about the artists I love and who have influenced me in some way.  Last week it was Rembrandt, this week it’s Henri Matisse.

Henri Matisse, 1869-1954, has been one of my main influences among modern artists in the use of color and in line drawing.



Le Danse with Nasturtiums

Le Danse with Nasturtiums – Oil on canvas – Matisse


I first saw Matisse’s work in NYC at the Museum of Modern Art when I was a young teenager, probably around 13 or 14.  I loved the color and compositions. I bought a poster of this image above and had it in my room for the rest of my teen years.


Harmony in Red

Harmony in Red – Oil on canvas – Matisse


This is another painting that affected me greatly. I absolutely fell in love with the idea that the patterns could be equal in importance to the spatial depiction.  yes, it’s a room, but it is flat and beautifully patterned as well.  The composition is so perfect, I can’t imagine anything being changed in it.  I love this piece.


The Piano Lesson

The Piano Lesson – Oil on canvas – Matisse


Yet another fantastic image that combines the idea of space with the flatness of pattern, color, composition and contrast.  You can see he is slowly moving away from a realistic depiction of space.


Pink Nude

Pink Nude – Oil on canvas – Matisse


As Matisse aged he moved into a period where his emphasis was almost purely on color, shape and composition.  He always had joy and brightness in his work but as he simplified he let those elements come out to an even greater extent.


Themes and Variations

from ‘Themes et variations’ – Henri Matisse

Themes et variations

from ‘Themes et variations’ – Henri Matisse


Portrait – Line Drawing – Matisse


In my opinion, there is no greater minimalist draftsman then Matisse. His ability to express form and feeling in the fewest of lines is unequaled.  I have spent most of my life as an artist drawing in sketchbooks. I have more than 30 of them now.  If you look up ‘sketchbook history tour’ in the series drop down menu on the right you will be able to see a selection of that work over many years.  My best drawings in those sketchbooks are the ones that are closest to the ideal of simplicity of line that Matisse taught me.


Matisse in bed

Matisse drawing while confined to his bed.


As Matisse neared the end of his life he was confined to both a wheelchair and to a bed at various times.  In spite of that he continued to work, creating some of his greatest masterpieces by using the long extension for his drawing tool and with the use of cut outs.  His simplification of beauty was complete and he left us as powerfully creative as when he started almost 70 years before.


Matisse in his wheelchair

Matisse working on a Cut Out while confined to a wheelchair


Tristel – Matisse Cut Out


I took my daughters to Europe in 2003 and made a stop at the Matisse Museum in Nice, France.  I picked out this piece along with 2 others from that era and bought reproductions of them. When I got home I had them framed and they are great reminders of both his genius and a fantastic family adventure.



Fall/Winter 2016

Summer 2014

Winter 2012/2013

Winter 2011/2012


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