Henri Matisse Wanted for Purchase or Consignment

(1869 - 1954)

Matisse was born the son of a middle-class family, he studied and began to practice law. In 1890, however, while recovering slowly from an attack of appendicitis, he became intrigued by the practice of painting. In 1892, having given up his law career, he went to Paris to study art formally. His first teachers were academically trained and relatively conservative; Matisse's own early style was a conventional form of naturalism, and he made many copies after the old masters. He also studied more contemporary art, especially that of the impressionists, and he began to experiment, earning a reputation as a rebellious member of his studio classes. Matisse's true artistic liberation, in terms of the use of color to render forms and organize spatial planes, came about first through the influence of the French painters Paul Gauguin and Paul Cezanne and the Dutch artist Vincent van Gogh, whose work he studied closely beginning about 1899. Then, in 1903 and 1904, Matisse encountered the pointillist painting of Henri Edmond Cross and Paul Signac. Matisse adopted their technique and modified it repeatedly, using broader strokes. By 1905 he had produced some of the boldest color images ever created, including a striking picture of his wife, Green Stripe. The title refers to a broad stroke of brilliant green that defines Madame Matisse's brow and nose. In the same year Matisse exhibited this and similar paintings along with works by his artist companions, including Andre Derain and Maurice de Vlaminck. Together, the group was dubbed les fauves (literally, “the wild beasts”) because of the extremes of emotionalism in which they indulged, their use of vivid colour, and distortion of shapes.
While he was regarded as a leader of radicalism in the arts, Matisse was beginning to gain the approval of a number of influential critics and collectors. Broadly conceived themes ideally suited Matisse; they allowed him freedom of invention and play of form and expression. His images of dancers, and of human figures in general, convey expressive form first and the particular details of anatomy only secondarily. Matisse extended this principle into other fields; his bronze sculptures, like his drawings and works in several graphic media, reveal the same expressive contours seen in his paintings. Although intellectually sophisticated, Matisse always emphasized the importance of instinct and intuition in the production of a work of art. He argued that an artist did not have complete control over colour and form; instead, colours, shapes, and lines would come to dictate to the sensitive artist how they might be employed in relation to one another. He often emphasized his joy in abandoning himself to the play of the forces of colour and design, and he explained the rhythmic, but distorted, forms of many of his figures in terms of the working out of a total pictorial harmony.
From the 1920s until his death, Matisse spent much time in the south of France, particularly Nice, painting local scenes with a thin, fluid application of bright colour. In his old age, he was commissioned to design the decoration of the small Chapel of Saint-Marie du Rosaire at Vence (near Cannes), which he completed between 1947 and 1951. Often bedridden during his last years, he occupied himself with decoupage, creating works of brilliantly coloured paper cutouts arranged casually, but with an unfailing eye for design, on a canvas surface. Matisse died in Nice on November 3, 1954. Unlike many artists, he was internationally popular during his lifetime, enjoying the favour of collectors, art critics, and the younger generation of artists. Matisse's work reflects a number of influences: the decorative quality of Near Eastern art, the stylized forms of the masks and sculpture of African, the bright colours of the French impressionists, and the simplified forms of French artist Paul Cezanne and the cubists.

Historical Sale Highlights

Following is a random selection of collectible works we have previously sold. Refresh this page to see more items.

Fall Scene with Red Cart
Maud Lewis
oil on panel (12.25x13.5 in) 1965
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Haystacks
Robert N. Hurley
Watercolour (10x14 in) 1956
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Baie St. Paul
Frederick Grant Banting
Oil on Panel (8.5x10.5 in) 1927
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Spring Ploughing
Maud Lewis
Oil on board (11 3/4 x13.25 in) circa 1958
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Green Lake Cariboo B.C.
Alexander Young Jackson
Oil on Panel (18x24 in) 1946
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Frozen Lake
Alexander Young Jackson
Oil on Panel (8.5x10.5 in) 1920
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Bear Spirit
Norval Morrisseau
acrylic (40x64 in) 1970
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Ox Team in Winter #1
Maud Lewis
oil on board (12x11.5 in) circa 1958
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Autumn
Alfred Joseph Casson
oil on panel (11.5x15 in) 1948
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Untitled Abstract
William Ronald
watercolour (18x24 in) 1960
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