Monday, December 31, 2012
Henri Matisse was born on December 31, 1869, in the northeast of France. Primarily a painter, his art rarely came easily to him; he questioned, repainted and reevaluated his work throughout his lifetime. Initially a leader of the Fauvists (who emphasized strident colors), he returned to a traditional style in the 1920s, as did his friend Picasso. He began spending time on the Côte d'Azur (at Nice and Vence), where his works reflected the Riviera’s sensual colors. In 1941 Matisse was diagnosed with duodenal cancer and was permanently confined to a wheelchair. In what he called his “second life” he completed the magnificent Chapel of the Rosary in Vence, and created his playful, colorful cut-paper collages (gouaches découpés), including the Blue Nudes series (pictured), in a technique he called "painting with scissors," blending simplicity with intense power.