The Father of Fauvism and his doves

Updated: Sep 17, 2019

Dove of peace by pablo picasso inspired by Henri Matisse's doves
Picasso, Dove of Peace, 1949

Henri Matisse once said, “It has bothered me all my life that I do not paint like everybody else”. Matisse is regarded as the father of Fauvism which is a movement based on vivid brush strokes of unnatural colors placed into realistic scenes. Matisse was not always a painter, in the beginning of his career as a law clerk he experienced an attack of appendicitus. He discovered his passion for painting during his recovery and shortly after left to Paris to formally study art. In the summer of 1905 he worked with André Derain in Collioure and together they developed their own individual fauvist painting styles. Matisse was inspired by the forms and colors of artists such as Paul Cézanne, Vincent Van Gogh, and Paul Gaugin as well as pointilist paintings from Henri Edmond Cross and Paul Signac. Matisse has stated that, “In modern art, it is undoubtedly to Cézanne that I owe the most”. One of the first artworks he purchased was Three bathers (1879-82) by Cézanne. During the 20th century he developed many relationships with significant artists, collectors, and critics like Pablo Picasso, Gertrude Stein, and Sergei Shchukin. He also had a passion for plants and birds, specifically doves. During the latter part of his life he focused on portraying the human figure through paper cut-outs, a notable work is Blue Nude II (1952). In order to produce these cut-outs, he cleared out his home. Matisse sent his doves to Picasso for him to take care of which inspired his famous lithograph Dove of Peace (1949). Matisse is remembered for his emotional expressions through the use of vibrant color and forms. Do you think Henri Matisse’s work could perhaps have reflected insights into the future movement of Abstract Expressionism?

Artworks mentioned:


Henri Matisse. Blue Nude II. 1952
Henri Matisse. Blue Nude II. 1952 MOMA

 Paul Cezanne three bathers painting
Paul Cezanne, Three Bathers, 1879-82

written by Kaitlan Norman

153 views0 comments