Henri Matisse

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Matisse pioneered a revolutionary use of color and form, refusing to accept that color must reflect the real world. Matisse moved around the wheel, using jarring colors to quickly become a ‘bad boy’ of French art.

He tended to work in pairs of color complements: blue/orange, red/green, yellow/violet. Seldom does one color take a back seat in the painting; even if it is used sparingly, the surrounding colors tend to promote each other. Color is never muted, only their values are shifted by adding either white or blue.

As an artist, Matisse is to be especially admired because he continued to search for new ways to create, while at all times maintaining that color was his primary focus.

Works by Henri Matisse and numerous other artists entered the public domain this year as a major trove of copyrights expired in the US on January 1, 2019.

Along with fellow painter André Derain, Matisse was the leading proponent of Fauvism, a movement whose name is derived from the French word for "wild beast.” Marked by vibrant hues, Fauvist paintings like Matisse’s famous 1906 composition Le Bonheur de vivre, use wild, active brushstrokes and a palette unconstrained by nature, resulting in women with purple skin and trees with orange leaves. Often, these compositions unite pure color with the white of exposed canvas to create a sense of transparency and light.

 In addition to masterful landscapes and still lifes, Matisse loved to paint erotic subjects, particularly the female nude. Rejecting strict realism, he distilled the form into its essential parts and then translated these into voluptuous, rounded contours. In pictures like the lithograph Nu Bleu, he explored the expressive power of a body in motion by placing his figures in twisted or contorted poses, transforming their limbs into tangles of color and shape that push figure painting toward abstraction.

When ordering Matisse's prints The Picturalist offers the choice to print on an Off-White archival paper for that vintage feel or Pure White for a crisp look.