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.
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 and had it in my room for the rest of my teen years.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
- Week #10 – Coco Larrain
- Week #9 – Nina Levy
- Week #8 – Andy Goldsworthy
- Week #7 – Wayne Thiebaud
- Week #6 – Richard Diebenkorn
- Week #5 – Roy Lichtenstein
- Week #4 – Thomas Hart Benton
- Week #3 – Edward Hopper
- Week #2 – Henri Matisse
- Week #1 – Rembrandt