Life and Times
In 1887, Matisee returned from studying in Paris to his home town of Cateau-Cambrésis to take up a job as a court clerk. Shortly after starting work, he was struck down by appendicitis. During a long convalescence, his mother offered him a box of paints. Matisse discovered a passion for painting.
This new found love led Matisse to sign up at the school of Fine Arts in Paris. In 1896, Matisse staged his first exhibition. Through an australian benefactor, John Russell, he met Rodin and Picasso. Matisse was to become a lifelong friend of Picasso.
Matisse joined the creative talent centered around Montparnasse, and many of his finest works come from in the years 1906 to 1917.
In 1917 Matisse moved to Cimiez on the French Riviera, until his death in 1954. Even though Matisse's work was not perhaps as exciting after he left Paris, his painting and sculpting continued to develop.
Throughout his life, Matisse travelled widely to find inspiration - he visited Algeria, Germany, Italy, Russia, England, US, and Tahiti - the last was a definite favorite.