Henri Matisse can easibly be called one of the most famous painters of the 20th Century. This French artist, was noted for his dramatic use of color innovative compositions. This versatile genius was also a good sculptor and a printmaker but its his paintings which captured the imagination of most art connoisseurs. What is most remarkable obout this painter is his indomitable spirit. He survived the worst possible political events in recorded history, the worst wars, the greatest genocides, the most vicious clash of ideology, without, it seems, turning a hair. His paintings do not reflect any of despair and angst that was so overwhelmingly present in the works of his contemporaries. His work was grounded in tradition, they were meditative studies and were much less restless and ironic than Picasso's works.
Picasso and Matisse
Matisse was a friend as well as rival of his younger contemporary Picasso, to whom he is often compared. What differs them is the facts that Matisse drew and painted from nature, while Picasso was much more inclined to work from imagination. However they dealt with similar subjects; both painted most frequently women and still lifes, with Matisse choosing to place his figures in fully realized interiors.
Preoccupation with Baudelaire
Mattisse was greatly inspired from the works writings of Baudelaire. Most of his paintings are scaled away from the assaults and erosions of history, that Baudelaire imagined in his poem L'Invitation al Voyage:
“Furniture gleaming with the sheen of years would grace our bedroom; the rarest flowers, mingling their odours with vague whiffs of amber, the painted ceilings, the fathomless mirrors, the splendour of the East ... all of that would speak, in secret, to our souls, in its gentle language. There, everything is order and beauty, luxury, calm and pleasure.”
His Blue Nudes series feature is probably his most popular workand also demonstrates his ability to bring align color and geometry to create a harmonic piece of art.
Matisse’s first painting to be sold was "Still Life with Geranium" in 1910. Today, a painting of this great master can fetch as much as US $17 million.