Henri Matisse, alongside friend and rival, Pablo Picasso, is commonly regarded as one of the most revolutionary figures in the history of twentieth century art. Born in Nice, Matisse spent much of his life in France amongst the local artistic milieu in Paris and the South of France. He is known for his mastery of expressive colour and line, reflected in his highly celebrated body of work that encompasses paintings, drawings, sculpture and prints.
Matisse’s early work is characterised by an intensity of colour, which brought him notoriety alongside André Derain as part of a movement critically dubbed as Fauvism. Whilst colour remained a touchstone throughout his career, Matisse went on to develop a rigorous style defined by emphasising flattened forms and decorative patterns, particularly inspired by his travels to North Africa where he encountered Moorish, Islamic and other African cultures.