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Art Prints and Posters
Henri Matisse, one of the most pungent and feisty of all the big modern art cheeses, spent his early working years copying out stories so that his lawyer employers consumed the required amount of legal stationary. However, before he could single-handedly de-forest Europe, he had the good fortune to be pole-axed by a burst appendix, prompting his mum to buy him some paints to occupy his convalescence (meres, where would we be without them?).
Henri, who'd already been attending drawing classes, found daubing so delightful that he soon raced off to Paris and had even more colourful frolics in Gustave Moreau's studio. Times were tough though, and it was a case of hats-off to his new wife, Amelie, whose milliner's shop kept them in funds while he endured the difficult years that all artists suffer (unless they're Anthony Gormley).
His really big break came in 1905 when he and his pals were called 'wild beasts' by a critic who rather dis'fauve'red the brilliant colours and unrestrained painting style he'd seen at their first group show.
After that, with the exception of a few minor hiccoughs and excitements like the Second World War, his separation from Amelie, his affairs with his models, the birth of his illegitimate son and the onset of cancer, Henri remained on a creative roll that continued until he ended his days in bed by the Med', cutting out paper shapes and directing assistants to arrange them into pictures so vibrant and colourful that doctors advised him to wear dark glasses to stop his eyesight being damaged by his most brilliant creations.Copyright Michael Cox