Matisse was born in 1869 in Northern France. By 1891 he had abandoned his law degree and started to paint. In Paris, he studied art at the Académie Julian and the École des Beaux-Arts. He embraced a new range of influences, abandoning the Impressionistic palette and establishing his own style with brilliant colour and fluid line. His subjects were primarily women, interiors, and still lifes. From the early 1920s until 1939, Matisse divided his time between the South of France and Paris. While recuperating from two major operations in 1941 and 1942, he concentrated on a technique he had devised earlier, ‘papiers découpés’ (paper cutouts), which would prove hugely influential, and was one of the first painters to take an interest in “primitive” art.
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