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Fish of the Sea
designed by Henri Matisse

Although known primarily as a painter, Henri Matisse (1869–1954) was one of the great figures in 20th century art with over a six-decade career in a variety of media—painting, sculpture, textiles, etching, lithography, and collage.

Matisse’s initial style was conventional but became far more experimental by the turn of the 20th century, having been influenced by Cezanne, Gauguin, and Van Gogh. He began to use color to define forms and organize spatial planes. Matisse was often bedridden but continued to create art, sometimes drawing with a pencil or piece of charcoal attached to a long pole that allowed him to reach the canvas. He also worked in collage by cutting painted, heavy paper into shapes that assistants then pasted to wall-size canvases.

Matisse’s revolutionary use of brilliant color and exaggerated form to convey emotional expression brought him recognition as a seminal 20th-century artist.
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