Why Did People Find Henri Matisse's Work Shocking?
The French painter Henri Matisse (1869–1954) shocked the art world because he used brilliant colors and unusual techniques, which were meant to reflect his emotional reactions to his subjects. His revolutionary style, which is now called expressionism, made him the leader of a group of artists known as Les Fauves (fawns). One of his early famous works Madame Matisse (1905) shows his wife with blue hair and a green stripe running down the middle of her face, which was colored pink on one side of her nose and yellow on the other. Earning worldwide recognition as early as 1909, Matisse experimented with expressive abstraction throughout his career. He also created sculpture, paper cutouts, and line drawings. All of his works reflect minimal use of realistic detail and a simplification of line and color. These techniques had a lasting influence on modern art.
Further Information: Brill, Frederick. Matisse. London: Hamlyn, 1967; Henri Matisse. [Online] Available http://matisse.hypermart.net/, October 23, 2000; "Henri Matisse." Electric Library. [Online] Available http://www.encyclopedia.com/articles/08198.html, October 23, 2000; Jacobus, John M. Henri Matisse. New York: H. N. Abrams, 1973; Munthe, Nelly. Meet Matisse. Boston: Little Brown, 1983; Russell, John. The World of Matisse. New York: Time-Life Books, 1969.