May’s artist for #deadartistsociety is Matisse. Here’s the little story of why Matisse after Picasso...
The two met in 1906 through Gertrude Stein. They were sort of rivals as they were competing for Stein’s (their patron’s) attention and of course $$. Picasso being the emotional, hot-headed guy he was, often mocked Matisse and his work, though it probably came from a place of jealousy. Matisse being older tried to take it in stride, though he often used the term Cubism to describe Picasso as sort of put down, neither artist really cared for that term. But over time, they became friends, or maybe frenemies.
When Matisse was about 80 he emptied out his living quarters for his cut outs, getting rid of all his plants and paintings. He gave his doves to Picasso. And it was Matisse’s dove that Picasso made a lithograph of and it became the front of the brochure for the World Congress. Eventually the dove became a symbol for peace. When Matisse died, Piasso painted his studio with the doves in the window as a tribute.
Henri Émile Matisse was born on the evening of December 31, 1869 at his grandparents’ house in Le Cateau, France. He was the oldest of three boys, the middle one died after only two years. His father, Émile was a grain merchant, his mother Anna, an amateur painter.
He went to elementary school in Bohain and secondary school in Saint-Quentin where he studied Greek and Latin. In 1887, his father sent him to Paris to study law. Matisse went willingly and had exemplary grades. After completing his law studies, he returned north and took a job as a law clerk in Saint-Quentin. Nothing in his first 20 years show any inclination toward the arts except maybe his mother. Her family the Gérards’ were tanners and glovemakers. She helped out with flowers and paint colors in their local shop. Bohain where Matisse grew up was famous for its luxury fabrics and perhaps this early exposure to textiles influenced him later.
Matisse worked as a law clerk where he copied out reams of information that went into files, never to be consulted. The thicker the file the better, so he took to padding the pages with copies of the fables of La Fontaine. But in 1890, he got appendicitis and spent several months at home in bed. His mother gave him a box of paints, a set of brushes, and a handbook on painting. Matisse said for the first time he felt “free, quiet, and alone.” “It was as if I had been called.” “Henceforth I did not lead my life. It led me.”
One of my favorite days of this project is picking up my pile of books from the library and this month I really scored! Look at this fold out page! Looking forward to a fun, colorful month.