chapter  7
14 Pages

The creative anxiety of Henri Matisse

Sometime around 1888, Henri Matisse, then a relatively unknown, no longer young artist, joined the aesthetic revolution that would transform western art. His efforts led to the development of entirely new forms of painting and sculpture which would shock and challenge audiences and critics across several continents. Interestingly, Matisse's artwork was perturbing not only to his audience but to himself as well. In fact, as we shall see in his art, he purposefully and relentlessly challenged his own aesthetic values, creating works which at times he himself found to be ugly, confusing and incompetent. For years, as he pursued artistic breakthroughs, he was ®lled with self-doubt and anxiety about his work. When he exhibited new paintings they were often objects of scorn and derision. At times he was tormented with shame for what he was doing.