Henri Matisse (1869–1954)
Henri Matisse is an artist of classical greatness, one of the strongest influences on art of the 20th Century. Matisse's artistic career was long and varied, covering many different styles of painting from Impressionism to near Abstractionism. Early on in his career, he was viewed as a Fauvist, and his use of bright colors reached its peak in 1917 when he began to spend time on the French Riviera. Here he completed some of his most exciting paintings. In 1941, Matisse was diagnosed with duodenal cancer and was permanently confined to a wheelchair, yet was able to complete the magnificent Chapel of the Rosary in Venice in this condition! He was an awesomely controlled artist and his art combines colors in unexpected ways, using new combinations never tried before. He preferred working in two dimensions, but by the subtlest of color accents, his surfaces convey the impression of three-dimensional space. Toward the end of his life, when he was too weak to stand at an easel, Matisse created his beautiful papercuts, cutting out shapes and collaging them into sometimes vast pictures, the closest he ever came to creating Abstract art.