Henri Matisse was born as the son of a grain merchant in the Picardy region of northern France. He studied law and worked as a law clerk. When Henri Matisse was 21 years old he became seriously ill. During the phase of convalescence Matisse started painting and discovered his love for art, which should become his life-long passion.
In 1941 Matisse had an abdominal cancer surgery which had a devastating effect on his health and ability to paint. He was unable to stand upright in front of an easel. The artist therefore turned to another form of artistic expression. He created paper cut-outs in the same vivid, strong colors and daring compositions known from his paintings. He had an assistant and could work lying in bed or sitting comfortably in an arm-chair.
Henri Matisse died on November 3, 1954 in Nice as an internationally well known and highly reputable artist. He had continued creating paper cutout works until the day of his death