Henri Matisse French, 1869-1954
Henri Matisse’s vibrant color palettes, expressive brushstrokes, and flat, graphic forms helped define the aesthetics of Fauvism and the goals of modernism itself. The French artist worked across painting, drawing, printmaking, collage, and sculpture, often focusing on simplified human figures and floral motifs. Matisse occasionally incorporated aspects of classical painting into his practice as he riffed on still lifes and domestic scenes.
Matisse's work belongs in myriad collections including the Museum of Modern Art, the Tate, and the Guggenheim Museum and has sold for tens of millions on the secondary market. Matisse’s flattened planes and bold colors informed the work of Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko, and many others. His famous rivalry with Picasso spurred both artists to innovate and shape 20th-century painting (via Artsy).