“An artist must never be a prisoner. Prisoner? An artist should never be a prisoner of himself, prisoner of style, prisoner of reputation, prisoner of success.”
– Henri Matisse
In 1887, Henri Matisse (1869-1954) began to study law and worked as a court administrator in Le Cateau-Cambrésis in Paris, but the trajectory of his life changed after a bout of appendicitis two years later. While recovering, he had little to do. So, his mother bought Henri a box of paints.
“From the moment I held the box of colours in my hands, I knew this was my life. I threw myself into it like a beast that plunges towards the thing it loves,” he said.
Matisse abandoned law to study art and work under artists like the painter John Peter Russell. He created still life and landscape paintings before moving to more impressionistic works.
He first made his name as an expressionist painter in the vein of Paul Cézanne and Marcel Duchamp. Critics regarded Matisse as an extremist and a wild beat or a Fauve.