The Best Henri Matisse quotes

Henri Matisse quotes thumbnail

In 1869, Henri Matisse was born in northern France to a working class family. Despite having no formal training, he would become one of the most renowned painters of the 20th century. This is his best quotes.
In his early years, Matisse showed artistic talent and enrolled in Paris’ famed School of Fine Arts. However, he was eventually expelled for not being serious enough about his studies. He then worked as a freelance artist before moving to Nice in the south of France. There, he met Paul Cรฉzanne and other noted artists of the time, and began developing his own unique style.
Matisse’s paintings were initially ridiculed by critics but found favor with the public.

Discover the most known Picture, Express, Artists, Life, Drawing, Light, Paint, Color quotes from Henri Matisse, and much more.


Test your habit in 4-mins


stop digital addiction course
This Course Breaks Your Digital Habits

About Henri Matisse

birth of the author

31 December 1869

death of the author

3 November 1954

country of the author


education of the author

Acadรฉmie Julian, William-Adolphe Bouguereau, Gustave Moreau

knownfor of the author

Known For:
Painting, Printmaking, Sculpture, Drawing, Collage And More.

movement of the author

Fauvism, Modernism, Post-Impressionism


An artist is an explorer. โ€” Henri Matisse

Above all, an artist must never be too easily satisfied with what he has done. โ€” Henri Matisse

Arrival = Prison, and the artist must never be a prisoner. โ€” Henri Matisse

An artist must not feel under any constraint. โ€” Henri Matisse

an artist is an explorer Henri Matisse quote

The truly original artist invents his own signs. โ€” Henri Matisse

An artist must never be a prisoner. Prisoner? An artist should never be a prisoner of himself, prisoner of style, prisoner of reputation, prisoner of success, etc. โ€” Henri Matisse

An artist is an explorer. He has to begin by selfโ€“discovery and by observation of his own procedure. After that he must not feel under any constraint. โ€” Henri Matisse

The artists must see all things as if he were seeing them for the first time. All his life he must see as he did when he was a child. โ€” Henri Matisse

Much of the beauty that arises in art comes from the struggle an artist wages with his limited medium. โ€” Henri Matisse

above all an artist must never be too easily satisfied with what he has done Henri Matisse quote

The effort to see things without distortion takes something like courage and this courage is essential to the artist, who has to look at everything as though he saw it for the first time. โ€” Henri Matisse


Test your habit in 4-mins

The artist begins with a visionโ€“a creative operation requiring an effort. โ€” Henri Matisse

When a painting is finished, it’s like a new born child, and the artist himself must have time for understanding. How then do you expect an amateur to understand that which the artist dos not yet comprehend. โ€” Henri Matisse

The importance of an artist is to be measured by the quantity of new signs which he has introduced to the language of art. โ€” Henri Matisse

The portrait is one of the most curious art forms. It demands special qualities in the artist, and an almost total kinship with the model. โ€” Henri Matisse

arrival prison and the artist must never be a prisoner Henri Matisse quote

I have to create an object which resembles the tree. The sign for a tree, and not the sign that other artists may have found for the tree. โ€” Henri Matisse

Hatred, rancor, and the spirit of vengeance are useless baggage to the artist. His road is difficult enough for him to cleanse his soul of everything which could make it more so. โ€” Henri Matisse

Truth and reality in art begin at the point where the artist ceases to understand what he is doing and capable of doingโ€“yet feels in himself a force that becomes steadily stronger… and more concentrated. โ€” Henri Matisse

Did not the artists of the great age of Japanese art change names many times during their careers? I like that; they wanted to safeguard their freedom. โ€” Henri Matisse


Color, even more than drawing, is a means of liberation. โ€” Henri Matisse

color even more than drawing is a means of liberation Henri Matisse quote

To draw is to make an idea precise. Drawing is the precision of thought. โ€” Henri Matisse

Drawing is of the Spirit and color of the Senses. โ€” Henri Matisse

When an artist or student draws a nude figure with painstaking care, the result is drawing, and not emotion. โ€” Henri Matisse

If drawing belongs to the world of spirit and color to that of the senses, you must draw first to cultivate the spirit. โ€” Henri Matisse

Drawing is . . . not an exercise of particular dexterity, but above all a means of expressing intimate feelings and moods. โ€” Henri Matisse

to draw is to make an idea precise drawing is the precision of thought Henri Matisse quote

Drawing is like making an expressive gesture with the advantage of permanence. โ€” Henri Matisse

A colourist makes his presence known even in a simple charcoal drawing. โ€” Henri Matisse

Drawing is putting a line around an idea. โ€” Henri Matisse

I shan’t get free of my emotion by copying the tree faithfully, or by drawing its leaves one by one in the common language, but only after identifying myself with it. โ€” Henri Matisse

All art worthy of the name is religious. โ€” Henri Matisse

drawing is of the spirit and color of the senses Henri Matisse quote

The Barnes Foundation is the only sane place to see art in America. โ€” Henri Matisse


It is with color that you render light, though you must also feel this light, have it within yourself. โ€” Henri Matisse

Color helps to express light, not the physical phenomenon, but the only light that really exists, that in the artist’s brain. โ€” Henri Matisse

A picture must possess a real power to generate light and for a long time now I’ve been conscious of expressing myself through light or rather in light. โ€” Henri Matisse

What I am after, above all, is expression. โ€” Henri Matisse

what i am after above all is expression Henri Matisse quote


My pictures are made up of four or five colors that collide with one another. โ€” Henri Matisse

I am driven on by an idea that I really only grasp as it grows with the picture. โ€” Henri Matisse

I want to reach that condensation of sensations that constitutes a picture. โ€” Henri Matisse

The more a picture has to give, the greater it is. โ€” Henri Matisse

All that is not useful in a picture is detrimental. A work of art must be harmonious in its entirety; for superfluous details would, in the mind of the beholder, encroach upon the essential elements. โ€” Henri Matisse

my pictures are made up of four or five colors that collide with one another Henri Matisse quote

Expression is not a matter of passion mirrored on the human face or revealed by a violent gesture. When I paint a picture, its every detail is expressive. โ€” Henri Matisse

The whole arrangement of my picture is expressive. The place occupied by the figures or objects, the empty spaces around them, the proportions, everything plays a part. โ€” Henri Matisse

Cezanne, you see, is a sort of God of painting. โ€” Henri Matisse

Redundant Thematics

In Henri Matisse Statements



It is not enough to place colors, however beautiful, one beside the other; colors must also react on one another. Otherwise, you have cacophony. โ€” Henri Matisse

Color exists in itself, possessing its own beauty. โ€” Henri Matisse

color exists in itself possessing its own beauty Henri Matisse quote

A certain color tones you up. It’s the concentration of timbres. โ€” Henri Matisse

With color one obtains an energy that seems to stem from witchcraft. โ€” Henri Matisse

The use of expressive colors is felt to be one of the basic elements of the modern mentality, an historical necessity, beyond choice. โ€” Henri Matisse

I’ve been forty years discovering that the queen of all colors is black. โ€” Henri Matisse

Seek for the boldest color possible, content is irrelevant. โ€” Henri Matisse

a certain color tones you up it s the concentration of timbres Henri Matisse quote

The chief function of color should be to serve expression as well as possible. โ€” Henri Matisse

I am curious about color as one would be visiting a new country, because I have never concentrated so closely on color expression. Up to now I have waited at the gates of the temple. โ€” Henri Matisse

Seek the strongest color effect possible… the content is of no importance. โ€” Henri Matisse

A painting in an interior spreads joy around it by the colors, which calm us. โ€” Henri Matisse

Cutting straight into color reminds me of the direct carving of the sculptor. โ€” Henri Matisse

with color one obtains an energy that seems to stem from witchcraft Henri Matisse quote

My choice of colors does not rest on any scientific theory, it is based on observation, on feeling, on the experience of my sensibility. โ€” Henri Matisse

It is only after years of preparation that the young artist should touch colorโ€“not color used descriptively, that is, but as a means of personal expression. โ€” Henri Matisse

Color was not given to us in order that we should imitate Nature. It was given to us so that we can express our emotions. โ€” Henri Matisse

From the moment I held the box of colors in my hands, I knew this was my life. I threw myself into it like a beast that plunges towards the thing it loves. โ€” Henri Matisse


I don’t paint things. I only paint the difference between things. โ€” Henri Matisse

i don t paint things i only paint the difference between things Henri Matisse quote

When I eat a tomato I look at it the way anyone else would. But when I paint a tomato, then I see it differently. โ€” Henri Matisse

There is nothing more difficult for a truly creative painter than to paint a rose, because before he can do so he has first to forget all the roses that were ever painted. โ€” Henri Matisse

I do not literally paint that table, but the emotion it produces upon me. โ€” Henri Matisse

Starting to paint, I felt gloriously free, quiet, and alone. โ€” Henri Matisse


It has bothered me all my life that I do not paint like everybody else. โ€” Henri Matisse

it has bothered me all my life that i do not paint like everybody else Henri Matisse quote

What interests me most is neither still life nor landscape, but the human figure. โ€” Henri Matisse

I am unable to make any distinction between the feeling I get from life and the way I translate that feeling into painting. โ€” Henri Matisse

I am unable to distinguish between the feeling I have for life and my way of expressing it. โ€” Henri Matisse

It is through the human figure that I best succeed in expressing the nearly religious feeling that I have towards life. โ€” Henri Matisse

I was driven on by.. A force which I see today as something alien to my normal life… so I have been no more than a medium as it were. โ€” Henri Matisse

When I started to paint I felt transported into a kind of paradise… In everyday life I was usually bored and vexed… Starting to paint I felt gloriously free. โ€” Henri Matisse

There’s nothing clinically wrong with me, only an emotional imbalanceโ€“I pass too quickly from the wildest enthusiasm to the blackest despair. โ€” Henri Matisse


The things that are acquired consciously permit us to express ourselves unconsciously with a certain richness. โ€” Henri Matisse

The artist has to look at life as he did when he was a child. If he loses that faculty, he cannot express himself in an original, that is, a personal way. โ€” Henri Matisse

An artist must possess Nature. He must identify himself with her rhythm, by efforts that will prepare the mastery which will later enable him to express himself in his own language. โ€” Henri Matisse

You want to paint? First of all you must cut off your tongue because your decision takes away from you the right to express yourself with anything but your brush. โ€” Henri Matisse

Purer colors… have in themselves, independently of the objects they serve to express, a significant action on the feelings of those who look at them. โ€” Henri Matisse

The living model, the naked body of a woman, is the privileged seat of feeling, but also of questioning… The model must mark you, awaken in you an emotion which you seek in turn to express. โ€” Henri Matisse

HENRI MATISSE Quotes Take Away

Andrei Tarkovsky was a Russian filmmaker who is considered by many to be one of the greatest filmmakers of all time. His movies are often praised for their poetic and spiritual qualities, as well as their unique visual style. Whatโ€™s perhaps most interesting about Tarkovsky is his view on cinema and art in general โ€“ he believed that they should be used not to entertain or distract people, but rather to help them see the world in a new way and come closer to understanding themselves and God. In this spirit, we wanted to share some of our favorite quotes from him on filmmaking, art, and life.

Wasting Life?


Test your habit in 4-mins