The Fox Cities’ recently unveiled “creative vortex” known as The Draw has opened its doors to the artwork of 88 year old French born artist Pierre H. Matisse, grandson of Modern Master Henri Matisse, one of the most iconic and influential artists of the 20th century. Matisse’s 2016 “Freedom & Love Tour” begins in Appleton, Wisconsin with its kick-off exhibit through April 22 at the Feather & Bone Gallery at The Draw, nestled on Appleton’s Fox River.
The community art experience includes hands-on art projects for kids, live music, guest speakers, and more. A mixed media assortment of Matisse’s original works will include boldly hued oil paintings, cut-outs and lithographs. The exhibit is free to the public. Donations will be accepted at the door for which net proceeds will go to supporting arts education in the Appleton Area School District.
Matisse’s paintings are unmistakably inspired by his home country and famous lineage. His works are immersed in bold color, sensually vibrant French imagery, and joie de vivre. The majority of Pierre’s works are oil paintings executed with a palette knife in a heavy impasto technique. He also has mastered the cut-out technique, in many ways a homage to his grandfather.
“I use my art to express my appreciation of freedom and love,” says Matisse. “The Fox Cities is not a large venue, but it is a quality venue. Over the past few months it became apparent to me that the community wishes to offer more opportunities for those interested in art to learn that there is an artist in all of us; creativity is in our spiritual DNA. By applying imagination and energy, we create. This is the first step toward critical thinking and is why the sessions being held for the children are extremely important to me. I am delighted that my work will be shown in such a quality, diverse and positive environment.”
“I encourage visitors to pay particular attention to my Circle of Love, a linocut print. It depicts the mother and infant child in loving embrace. This child is the miraculous manifestation of the love of its parents – truly a circle of love where the soul begins to be nurtured.”
“The work of art is created by hand carving on a lino plate, preparing the paper with the correct level of moisture. Then applying ink to the plate being hand pulled by me as the artist to register the print. The substrate I have chosen for the linocut prints is 400lb rough cut, cold press, deckled edge Arches paper. The history of Arches starts in 1492, just as Columbus was discovering the New World, Arches completed the amalgamation of the paper-making facilities around the village of Arches, South of Epinal in France.”
“Perhaps the Paper Valley is a distant relative of this town in France where this paper company thrives to this very day!”
Jean Detjen, Artist Representative for the exhibit, saw a perfect fit in bringing Matisse’s art to Appleton.
“The growing Fox Cities art scene is incredibly vibrant,” Detjen said “and our creative community spirit has a very embracing nature. Pierre’s art is all about celebrating freedom and love despite life’s challenges and inevitable tragedies. Creating art can help process what we sense in the world so we can make sense of it. This is a wonderful and important thing to teach our children.”
Exhibit partners agree.
“It’s an honor to have someone who cares so much about art, education, music and who is so vibrant at his age,” said John Adams, Curator and Manager of The Draw who also oversees the on-site Feather & Bone main gallery with friend and business partner Cory Chisel. “We are excited to show his work and continue his message of love and happiness.”
Creative outlets and influences helped form Matisse’s own innovation and vision as an artist. One of the paintings to be displayed actually rotates 360 degrees on the wall by means of an invention engineered by the artist himself. In each corner his signature is visible so that the viewer may display it any way he likes and it will look correct.
Who is Pierre Matisse? The answer seems to be as complex as his life. With a most extraordinary view of the world, Pierre has brought his journey into focus using art to express his varied experiences. It’s no surprise that his work reflects passion, beauty, joy, love and freedom. One is drawn to Pierre’s work because of its intensity, power and depth of color, however on closer inspection, the drama of the scene plays out until it feels as though you are part of the picture.
As with most projects, first there needs to be an idea. In this particular instance Pierre H. Matisse, The Idea Man, is also an integral part of the story.
Pierre was born to artist parents in Paris on February 1st, 1928. His father, Jean Matisse, was a sculptor, his mother, Louise Milhau, was a painter, sculptor and ceramist. He grew up immersed in the world of art, being the grandson of Henri Matisse. Pierre’s childhood involved the artistic life of Paris and the French Riviera. The Matisse family often moved, “entourage” from one location to another, in France and Spain during his early years. He had the opportunity to meet and spend time among some of the most famous artists of this century, Pablo Picasso, Georges Braque, Aristide Maillol, Jean Effel, Salvador Dali, Pierre Bonnard, Marcel Duchamp, Henri Matisse, Fernand Leger, Maurice De Vlaminck and Auguste Lumière.
As a teenager, he was involved in a world that dealt with cruelty, intrigue, horror, and the destruction of war. Both Pierre and his father, Jean Matisse, were heavily involved in French underground activities. Before the war ended, his grandmother and aunt had been imprisoned for their subversive activities. Both Pierre, and his father, were on the run from the Nazis for their efforts in aiding the British spies and saboteurs. Occasionally they engaged in their own sabotage efforts. Some of these stories are amazing!
At the age of sixteen, on D-Day, during the invasion, Pierre found himself in Normandy forty miles from the landing beaches. Once liberated, he served as translator between the British and French authorities. He then volunteered, serving in co-operation with the British military transport, to repatriate the French civilian refugees displaced by the Normandy battle.
When the war ended, he worked in the restoration of the art and historical monuments damaged by the war in France. At nineteen, he volunteered for a French commando paratrooper outfit, engaged in North Africa. Half of his group was sent to Indochina. Pierre fought in Algeria. Eventually earning a PhD. in antique furniture restoration and authentification after his return from duty.
He is quite an adventurer, both a sailor and a pilot. He dreaded the memory of war, and in the early 50’s struck out to Canada with his family. He was a settler in the wilderness of the Canadian frontier. Now as a citizen of the United States, Pierre is international in his thinking with ties to France and Canada. He has a variety of societies in his ancestry: French, some traceable back to Charlemagne, German and Spanish, in fact some of his ancestors were Mediterranean pirates.
Pierre is a man who has not lost the sense of wonder of life, inquisitive, full of energy and open to every possibility, sure in his knowledge of himself, truly his own self.
As an artist, Pierre has always pursued his work in a generous manner. Giving an entire series of Florida landscapes to the Deland Museum, which have become a part of their permanent collection. These paintings were executed in the 70’s to record, for future generations, an ecology on the St John’s River that is quickly disappearing. He has also given or created commissioned pieces to help many other organizations such as Project Hope, The American Red Cross, Variety Clubs International, The National Epilepsy Foundation, Music Educators National Conference and Fame, UNICEF Orphans foundation, The Sunrise Children’s Hospital of Las Vegas, The Arnold Palmer Children’s Hospital, The Denver Children’s Hospital, Make-A-Wish Foundation, A Community of Angels, The United Nation’s Women’s Guild, Code Amber Organization, The Boggy Creek Gang, The Hole-in-the-Wall Gang and many others.
After twenty years as a cartographic manager, for a government agency, Pierre, to put it in his own words, “retired from conventional work.”
For a character like him, idleness is an anathema, so now Pierre is using his creative talent and boundless energy painting, writing, teaching and refining an art form known as cuts outs and translating different mediums into new avant-garde mixed media. Today the dream and plans for this new artistic exploration and using his art to help others has become the driving force in Pierre’s life. Above all, Pierre believes in freedom…as do all artists.
For more information contact:
Artist Representative for Pierre H. Matisse
firstname.lastname@example.org / 920.574.6841