Henri Matisse: The secret behind creating timeless modern art

Henri Matisse is one of the greatest modern artists of the twentieth century who’s life spanned from 1869-1954.

His powerful influence continues to shape creative minds today. Henri Matisse drawings and paintings celebrate an exemplary creative life. Here’s the secret to his incredible success as an influential and timeless modern artist .

The Matisse secret: Henri Matisse honoured the timeless foundational elements of discipline, practice and hard work.

‘Danseuse acrobate’ by Henri Matisse, 1931. Lithograph. Collection: Bibliotheque nationale de France

Matisse devoted himself to perfecting art and the creative process, as a painter he was a master of colour , but his drawings display a special intuitive feeling and love for the rhythm of line.

Matisse began his career studying law, but took up drawing when struck down by appendicitis, which left him bed ridden. Art became his passion in 1889. He says,

“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 drew everyday and committed himself to the search for creative truth.

His wise mother warned him not to follow the rules of art, but rather his feelings.

Matisse’s drawings record an undying pursuit of naïve simplicity. Revealing a child like creativity that respected purity and elegance, which in his mind was best articulated through simple gestures.

Henri Matisse | Patitcha souriante (Patitcha smiling) 1947 | Purchased 1993 with funds from the International Exhibitions Program | Collection: Queensland Art Gallery | © Henri Matisse 1947/Succession H Matisse/Licensed by Viscopy, Sydney, 2011

Many artists consider Matisse to be the godfather of twentieth century art.

He wanted art to uplift people. To set them free.

Believing that art should never create a prison where people find themselves locked in. Art should set creative people free.

Free from style. Free from reputations. Free from success. Even free from expectations imposed by a corrupted world.

Furthermore, Matisse believed art should bring peace and relaxation to a troubled world.

Matisse once said, “What I dream of is an art of balance, of purity and serenity, devoid of troubling or depressing subject matter, an art which could be for every mental worker… for example, a soothing, calming influence on the mind, something like a good armchair which provides relaxation from physical fatigue”.

Do you find when you walk into a gallery and enjoy the art, it brings you relaxation and peace of mind? Please make a comment or express your thoughts on Matisse in the comments box below. I would love to hear your ideas.

About Simon Brushfield

Simon Brushfield is an artist whose work has been described as ‘poetic, enigmatic and dreamlike’ (Michael Berry, "Selected Contemporary Artists of Australia" book). His paintings have been exhibited and sold across Australia and internationally. If you enjoyed this post, sign up to Simons VIP list and have posts sent directly to your inbox.

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