The work of Henri Matisse (1869–1954) reflects an ongoing belief in the power of brilliant colors and simple forms. Though famed in particular for his paintings, Matisse also worked with drawing, sculpture, lithography, stained glass, and collage, developing his unique cut-out medium when old age left him unable to stand and paint.
Matisse’s subjects were often conventional: nudes, portraits, and figures in landscapes, Oriental scenes, and interior views, but in his handling of bold color and fluid draftsmanship, he secured his place as a 20th-century master. It was Matisse’s palette that particularly thrilled the modern imagination. With vivid blue, amethyst purple, egg-yolk yellow, and many shades beyond he liberated his work from a meticulous representation of reality and sought instead a “vital harmony,” often referring to music as an inspiration or analogy for his work.
A comprehensive and informative source, this lavishly illustrated publication has been revised in close collaboration with the Matisse estate. Including preparatory studies, full-page reproductions, and enlarged details, discover the artist's adventurous path, from the chromatic brilliance of his Fauve period, right through to his invention of gouache cut-outs at the ripe age of 80. Each image has been reproduced with painstaking care to create a viewing experience worthy of the expressionist par excellence. The bard of color deserves no less.
Volkmar Essers, born in 1944, studied art history, archaeology, and German in Bonn, Munich, and Berlin. In 1972 he earned his doctorate with a work on the sculptor Johann Friedrich Drake. For many years, he has been the curator for the Art Collection of North Rhine-Westphalia, where he organized exhibitions of Paul Klee, Pablo Picasso, Max Ernst, Jackson Pollock, and other artists. Essers has also published numerous essays and books on art of the 19th and 20th centuries.