Henri Emile Benoit Matisse 1869 - 1954
A group known as “The Fauvists” was headed by Matisse in the early 1900’s. The group's paintings were bright and colourful with no regard to the subject’s natural colour. This colour was "arbitrary", imagined, and designed to create maximum emotive response. This group were Avant Garde in their notions, unpopular with many, and as a result Matisse struggled to provide for his family. Despite this, an undeterred Matisse created some of his finest work during this period, as well as studying many forms of painting around the world. It was at this time that he started using black as a colour in his paintings which created a new boldness in the use of intense colour.
Matisse worked tirelessly right up until his final days, daily instructing his assistants to move these enormous shapes of colour from one place to another until they struck a visual "harmony". Looking at Art, he said, should be like sitting in a comfy old armchair. Comfort, happiness, nostalgia and memory brought to life by colour.