Henri Matisse

  • Event

  • Henri-Émile-Benoît Matisse is born in the cottage of his maternal grandmother in Le Cateau-Cambrésis, France.

  • Matisse studies law in Paris. Matisse returns home to work as a clerk in a law office.

  • Following a case of appendicitis, Matisse receives as a convalescence gift from his mother a set of art supplies and begins to paint.

  • Matisse moves back to Paris to study art, first at the Acadamie Julian and later at the Ecole des Beaux-Art.

  • With his model, Caroline Joblau, Matisse has a daughter Marguerite, who in turn will later serve as a model.

  • Over the course of this decade, Matisse begins to study and collect the works of his contemporaries, including post-impressionist painter Paul Cézanne. Among his purchases is Cezanne's Three Bathers for a rumored 1,200 francs (about $250), acquired with a promissory note because he wanted it so desperately.

  • Matisse marries Amelie Noellie Parayre and has two sons: Jean, born in 1899, and Pierre, born in 1900.

  • Over a summer visit to artist friend Paul Signac at Saint-Tropez in Provence, Matisse falls for the bright light of southern France and adjusts his color palette accordingly. Matisse returns south the following summer to visit post-Impressionist cohort Andre Derain on the French Riviera.

  • Matisse, Derain and an assembly of others earn a reputation as Les Fauves ("Wild Beasts") in reaction to the wildly emotional, dissonant works exhibited at that fall's Salon d'Automne. Among the works is Matisse's Woman with a Hat, purchased by American writer Gertrude Stein and her art-critic brother Leo.

  • He meets Pablo Picasso, twelve years his junior, through Gertrude Stein. Matisse and Picasso become life-long friends as well as rivals, and are often compared to one another.

    Matisse meets the famed American photographer, Alfred Stieglitz.

  • Founded and financed by his friends, the private Academie Matisse school opens in Paris; Matisse instructs.

    Stieglitz organizes the first exhibition of Matisse in New York at his own gallery.

    Matisse begins a long association with the Russian art collector Sergei Shchukin.

  • Matisse creates one of his major works, La Danse, especially for Shchukin as part of a two-work commission. The other work is Music. He paints a second version of La Danse which is presently in the collection of The Museum of Modern Art in New York.

  • Matisse visits Munich to explore exhibitions of Oriental art.

  • Matisse arrives in Moscow on October 23. The next day, he visits the Tretyakov Gallery and asks to be shown their collection of Russian icons. Matisse is delighted by the icons and declares that to see them was more than worth the arduous trip; he spends much of his time in Moscow frantically visiting monasteries, churches, convents, and collections of sacred images.

  • Matisse spends the winters of 1912 and 1913 in Morocco perfecting his color scheme under Mediterranean sun. Matisse, along with Picasso, is seen as the leading new painter in Paris.

  • Event

  • A copy of Matisse's controversial Nu bleu nude (1907) and two other works are burned in effigy by students of The Art Institute of Chicago. This followed the New York Armory Show, which traveled to Chicago.

  • Matisse's innovative period of "radical intervention," is the focus of the Art Institute of Chicago’s new show, during which he produced Bathers by a River, The Moroccans and other masterpieces of his career.

  • Matisse divides his time between Collioure, Paris and Nice.

  • Matisse relocates to Cimiez and stays principally at Hotel Regina, on the French Riviera, a suburb of the city of Nice.

  • During this decade, and up until 1939, Matisse divides his time between the south of France and Paris. He designs the stage sets and costumes for Diaghilev’s ballet The Nightingale (to Stravinsky’s music) and in 1939 for Léonide Massine’s ballet Rouge et Noir (to the music of Shostakovich’s first Symphony). During these years he begins a long series of "Odalische".

  • Matisse is made chevalier of the Legion of Honor, and in 1927 he received the first prize at the Carnegie International Exhibition at Pittsburgh.

  • The American art collector Albert C. Barnes convinces Matisse to produce a large mural for the Barnes Foundation, The Dance II, which is completed in 1932.
    Barnes buys several dozen other Matisse paintings. Matisse makes a trip to Tahiti, then visits New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Philadelphia.

  • Matisse meets the Russian model Lydia Delectorskaya.

  • He and his wife of forty-one years separate in 1939.

  • Matisse is diagnosed with cancer and, following surgery, he begins to use a wheelchair. Until his death he is cared for by Lydia. Matisse, who is thoroughly apolitical, is shocked when he discovers that his daughter Marguerite, who had been active in the Résistance during the war, was tortured and imprisoned in the Ravensbrück concentration camp.

  • While recuperating from two major surgeries, Matisse concentrates on a technique he had devised earlier: papiers découpés (paper cutouts).

  • Matisse lives in Vence at the villa "Le Reve" until 1948.

  • Matisse writes and illustrates Jazz; the plates are stencil reproductions of paper cutouts.

  • A major retrospective of his work is presented at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, and then travels to Cleveland, Chicago, and San Francisco.

  • On June 25, thousands of tourists and natives crowd the small village of Vence in south France to see the Bishop bless what Matisse calls his "masterpiece" at the Dominican chapel of Notre-Dame.

  • Matisse progresses serenely with his decorations for the chapel, drawing his designs with a long charcoal-tipped stick on the walls of his bedroom, later copying them on tiles and transferring them to stained glass. This is his last work, and he announces: "My bags are packed."

  • At the age of 83, Matisse donates one hundred of his works, valued at up to $14,000,000, to his hometown of Le Cateau and establishes a museum for his work.

  • Matisse dies of a heart attack at the age of eighty-four.