Henri Matisse quotes

Henri Matisse photo
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Henri Matisse

Birthdate: 31. December 1869
Date of death: 3. November 1954
Other names: Henri-émile-benoit Matisse, Henri-Emile Matisse

Henri-Émile-Benoît Matisse was a French artist, known for both his use of colour and his fluid and original draughtsmanship. He was a draughtsman, printmaker, and sculptor, but is known primarily as a painter.

Matisse is commonly regarded, along with Pablo Picasso, as one of the artists who best helped to define the revolutionary developments in the visual arts throughout the opening decades of the twentieth century, responsible for significant developments in painting and sculpture. Along with Picasso, Matisse helped to define and influence radical contemporary art in the 20th century. Although he was initially labelled a Fauve , by the 1920s he was increasingly hailed as an upholder of the classical tradition in French painting. His mastery of the expressive language of colour and drawing, displayed in a body of work spanning over a half-century, won him recognition as a leading figure in modern art.

Photo: Carl Van Vechten, LOC / Public domain

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„Slowly I discovered the secret of my art. It consists of a meditation on nature, on the expression of a dream which is always inspired by reality.“

—  Henri Matisse

"Interview with Henri Matisse" by Jacques Guenne, L'Art Vivant (15 September 1925), translated by Jack Flam in Matisse on Art (1995)
1921 - 1940
Context: Slowly I discovered the secret of my art. It consists of a meditation on nature, on the expression of a dream which is always inspired by reality. With more involvement and regularity, I learned to push each study in a certain direction. Little by little the notion that painting is a means of expression asserted itself, and that one can express the same thing in several ways. Exactitude is not truth, Delacroix liked to say.

„I have been no more than a medium, as it were.“

—  Henri Matisse

As quoted in Smithsonian (November 1986)
Posthumous quotes

„I see with horror that the 'Salon Automne' is looming, for I haven't got, and shan't have, all I meant to be able to show there, the big stillife ['Harmony in Red'] has taken up so much of my time; but since I am content with the outcome, I tell myself one can't hope to be fast as well as good.“

—  Henri Matisse

Quote of Matisse in his letter to Sergei Shchukin [the Russian buyer of his still-life w:The Dessert: Harmony in Red (The Red Room), that year], 6 augustus 1908; as quoted by w:Hilary Spurling, The Unknown Matisse: Man of the North, 1869 – 1908, Penguin UK, 28 Sep, 2006, note 182
1900s

„Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Etiam egestas wisi a erat. Morbi imperdiet, mauris ac auctor dictum.“

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