7 Fascinating Facts About Henri Matisse

Alvin Langdon Coburn, Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain
Alvin Langdon Coburn, Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

As one of the greatest colorists of the 20th century, Henri Matisse largely shaped modern art. He frequently experimented with different media, styles, and art movements throughout his career, influenced by the artists with whom he surrounded himself. One of his most famous works is Woman with a Hat (1905), a significant example of the Fauvist movement in French art. Aside from paintings, he produced drawings, sculptures, and graphic art as well. Here are seven interesting facts about Henri Matisse’s life as an artist.

1. Henri Matisse studied law and worked as a clerk.

Even though Matisse is known for his artistic mastery, he was originally set on becoming a lawyer. He studied law, passed the bar, and worked as a clerk for a law office. He attended drawing classes in the morning before going to the office. Matisse’s father wanted Henri, his eldest child, to eventually take over the family grain business—but Henri wasn’t interested.

2. While recovering from appendicitis, Henri Matisse found his passion.

Matisse suffered from appendicitis when he was young, and it changed the course of his life. After his surgery, he was confined to a bed for months. The long recovery period bored him so much that his mother gave him a paint box to lift his spirits. It was this pivotal moment that helped him discover his passion for art. He loved the freedom that it gave him, and once said it felt like "a kind of paradise." After leaving his job as a law clerk and defying his father's wish for him to take over the business, he moved to Paris to fully pursue art.

3. Henri Matisse had a rivalry with Pablo Picasso.

Matisse and Picasso first met at a gathering in the salon of American novelist and art collector Gertrude Stein, who supported both of their careers. Initially, they disliked each other, but they respected one other as artists and became lifelong friends despite their competitive natures. Matisse himself even compared their relationship to a boxing match. "No one has ever looked at Matisse's paintings more carefully than I; and no one has looked at mine more carefully than he,” Picasso once said.

4. Henri Matisse and his wife, Amélie, blended personal and professional interests.

Matisse married Amélie Parayre, the unconventional daughter of a liberal schoolteacher, in 1898. As Matisse’s reputation for wildly innovative painting developed, Amélie became his artistic muse, model, and business manager. In 1935, Matisse hired a Russian refugee named Lydia Delectorskaya as a model, and they shared a deep understanding of Matisse’s art. Amélie was jealous of that partnership, and the Matisses separated in July 1939. After a brief absence, Delectorskaya returned to Matisse and worked for him until his death.

5. Henri Matisse developed the technique of “painting with scissors.”

Matisse’s surgery for abdominal cancer in 1941 effected his mobility, and afterwards he couldn’t stand for long periods of time. But his art entered a new, brilliant phase during his recovery. Matisse developed the technique of “painting with scissors” in which he cut painted papers into shapes and arranged them on his walls. He recut, combined, and assembled until he was content with the outcome.

6. Henri Matisse’s final work was the design for a stained-glass window.

The last work that Matisse completed before his death in 1954 was La Rosace, a circular stained-glass window [PDF]. Future New York governor Nelson Rockefeller commissioned it as a memorial for his mother, Abby Aldrich Rockefeller, an art patron who was a great admirer of Matisse. “Nothing would have pleased mother more,” he wrote to a colleague. It was installed at the Union Church of Pocantico Hills in Tarrytown, New York, where it remains today.

7. Henri Matisse’s daughter compiled a comprehensive record of his work.

Marguerite Duthuit, Matisse’s daughter with model Caroline Joblaud, was born four years before he married Amélie and modeled for him over several decades. She also served as her father’s assistant and archivist. After his death, Marguerite compiled the definitive record of Matisse’s artistic process and a catalog of his paintings. She was working on the final stages of the catalog when she died of a heart attack at age 87.

Take Advantage of Amazon's Early Black Friday Deals on Tech, Kitchen Appliances, and More

Amazon
Amazon

This article contains affiliate links to products selected by our editors. Mental Floss may receive a commission for purchases made through these links.

Even though Black Friday is still a few days away, Amazon is offering early deals on kitchen appliances, tech, video games, and plenty more. We will keep updating this page as sales come in, but for now, here are the best Amazon Black Friday sales to check out.

Kitchen

Instant Pot/Amazon

- Instant Pot Duo Plus 9-in-115 Quart Electric Pressure Cooker; $90 (save $40) 

- Le Creuset Enameled Cast Iron Signature Sauteuse 3.5 Quarts; $180 (save $120)

- KitchenAid KSMSFTA Sifter with Scale Attachment; $95 (save $75) 

- Keurig K-Mini Coffee Maker; $60 (save $20)

- Cuisinart Bread Maker; $88 (save $97)

- Anova Culinary Sous Vide Precision Cooker; $139 (save $60)

- Aicook Juicer Machine; $35 (save $15)

- JoyJolt Double Wall Insulated Espresso Mugs - Set of Two; $14 (save $10) 

- Longzon Silicone Stretch Lids - Set of 14; $13 (save $14)

HadinEEon Milk Frother; $37 (save $33)

Home Appliances

Roomba/Amazon

- iRobot Roomba 675 Robot Vacuum with Wi-Fi Connectivity; $179 (save $101)

- Fairywill Electric Toothbrush with Four Brush Heads; $19 (save $9)

- ASAKUKI 500ml Premium Essential Oil Diffuser; $22 (save $4)

- Facebook Portal Smart Video Calling 10 inch Touch Screen Display with Alexa; $129 (save $50)

- Bissell air320 Smart Air Purifier with HEPA and Carbon Filters; $280 (save $50)

Oscillating Quiet Cooling Fan Tower; $59 (save $31) 

TaoTronics PTC 1500W Fast Quiet Heating Ceramic Tower; $55 (save $10)

Vitamix 068051 FoodCycler 2 Liter Capacity; $300 (save $100)

AmazonBasics 8-Sheet Home Office Shredder; $33 (save $7)

Ring Video Doorbell; $70 (save $30) 

Video games

Sony

- Marvel's Spider-Man: Game of The Year Edition for PlayStation 4; $20 (save $20)

- Marvel's Avengers; $27 (save $33)

- Minecraft Dungeons Hero Edition for Nintendo Switch; $20 (save $10)

- The Last of Us Part II for PlayStation 4; $30 (save $30)

- LEGO Harry Potter: Collection; $15 (save $15)

- Ghost of Tsushima; $40 (save $20)

BioShock: The Collection; $20 (save $30)

The Sims 4; $20 (save $20)

God of War for PlayStation 4; $10 (save $10)

Days Gone for PlayStation 4; $20 (save $6)

Luigi's Mansion 3 for Nintendo Switch; $40 (save $20)

Computers and tablets

Microsoft/Amazon

- Apple MacBook Air 13 inches with 256 GB; $899 (save $100)

- New Apple MacBook Pro 16 inches with 512 GB; $2149 (save $250) 

- Samsung Chromebook 4 Chrome OS 11.6 inches with 32 GB; $210 (save $20) 

- Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 with 13.5 inch Touch-Screen; $1200 (save $400)

- Lenovo ThinkPad T490 Laptop; $889 (save $111)

- Amazon Fire HD 10 Tablet (64GB); $120 (save $70)

- Amazon Fire HD 10 Kids Edition Tablet (32 GB); $130 (save $70)

- Samsung Galaxy Tab A 8 inches with 32 GB; $100 (save $50)

Apple iPad Mini (64 GB); $379 (save $20)

- Apple iMac 27 inches with 256 GB; $1649 (save $150)

- Vankyo MatrixPad S2 Tablet; $120 (save $10)

Tech, gadgets, and TVs

Apple/Amazon

- Apple Watch Series 3 with GPS; $179 (save $20) 

- SAMSUNG 75-inch Class Crystal 4K Smart TV; $998 (save $200)

- Apple AirPods Pro; $169 (save $50)

- Nixplay 2K Smart Digital Picture Frame 9.7 Inch Silver; $238 (save $92)

- All-New Amazon Echo Dot with Clock and Alexa (4th Gen); $39 (save $21)

- MACTREM LED Ring Light 6" with Tripod Stand; $16 (save $3)

- Anker Soundcore Upgraded Bluetooth Speaker; $22 (save $8)

- Amazon Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote; $28 (save $12)

Canon EOS M50 Mirrorless Camera with EF-M 15-45mm Lens; $549 (save $100)

DR. J Professional HI-04 Mini Projector; $93 (save $37)

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The 20 Most Valuable Companies in the World

The Apple store on Fifth Avenue in New York City.
The Apple store on Fifth Avenue in New York City.
Laurenz Heymann, Unsplash

It seems like the most valuable companies should be those whose products and services we use on a near-daily basis. And according to Forbes’s most recent list, they are: The top five highest-valued brands in the world are Apple, Google, Microsoft, Amazon, and Facebook.

The annual study is based on a complex mixture of metrics that cover revenue and earnings, tax rates, price-to-earnings ratios, and capital employed. Since the data is from 2017 to 2019, the list doesn’t reflect how the coronavirus pandemic has affected the companies in question. That said, it does reflect what many have long assumed: that Big Tech is running laps around all the other industries. The top five are all considered technology companies, as are four others in the top 20 (Samsung, Intel, Cisco, and Oracle). Other companies aren’t in the technology category, but they own lucrative offshoots that are. Disney, in seventh place with an estimated value of $61.3 billion, falls under the “leisure” umbrella—but Disney+ itself would likely be marked “technology.” (Netflix is.)

The list isn’t completely devoid of time-tested classics that don’t involve software or hardware. Coca-Cola edged out Disney by about $3 billion to take sixth place; Toyota placed 11th with a brand value of $41.5 billion; and McDonald’s just cracked the top 10 with $46.1 billion. Louis Vuitton, Nike, and Walmart all also made the top 20.

Just because a brand ranked high on this year’s list doesn’t necessarily mean it’s doing well (and vice versa). Facebook, for example, suffered a 21-percent decrease in brand value compared to Forbes’ 2019 list—the largest loss of all 200 companies included in the study. Netflix’s brand value, on the other hand, jumped a staggering 72 percent from 2019 to 2020. With an estimated $26.7 billion value, it still missed the top 20 by six spots.

See Forbes’s top 20 below, and check out the full list here.

  1. Apple // $241.2 billion
  1. Google // $207.5 billion
  1. Microsoft // $162.9 billion
  1. Amazon // $135.4 billion
  1. Facebook // $70.3 billion
  1. Coca-Cola // $64.4 billion
  1. Disney // $61.3 billion
  1. Samsung // $50.4 billion
  1. Louis Vuitton // $47.2 billion
  1. McDonald’s // $46.1 billion
  1. Toyota // $41.5 billion
  1. Intel // $39.5 billion
  1. Nike // $39.1 billion
  1. AT&T // $37.3 billion
  1. Cisco // $36 billion
  1. Oracle // $35.7 billion
  1. Verizon // $32.3 billion
  1. Visa // $31.8 billion
  1. Walmart // $29.5 billion
  1. GE // $29.5 billion

[h/t Forbes]