Hand painted oil reproduction of Henri Matisse's The Piano Lesson
The French artist Henri Matisse (1869-1954) was the leader of the fauve group, and he is known for his masterful use of color and form to convey emotional expression. Matisse began his career as a lawyer, but in 1892 while recovering from an illness, he became interested in painting and went to Paris to pursue formal art studies. Although he was academically trained in art, his own style eventually evolved to a more colorful style as he studied the more contemporary art of the impressionists like Gaugin, Cezanne and VanGogh. He was also influenced by the pointillist painting of Cross and Signac whose works featured the juxtaposition of vibrant, pure pigment to create a strong visual vibration of intense color.
Along with other artists working in the same general style like Derain and Vlaminck, the group of artists became known as "The Fauves" or "the wild beasts" due not only to their use of vibrant colors, but also their distorted shapes, and extreme emotional content. Matisse attracted a number of influential art connoisseurs like Gertrude Stein, and his work became very popular as a leader of artistic radicalism.
Original: 1917, Oil on canvas, 96 3/8 x 79 in. (244.7 x 200.7 cm), Barnes Foundation, Merion, PA
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