Henri (Émile Benoît) Matisse (b. Dec. 31, 1869, Le Cateau, Picardy, Fr.–d. Nov. 3, 1954, Nice) is often regarded as the most important French painter of the 20th century. The leader of the Fauvist movement around 1900, Matisse pursued the expressiveness of colour throughout his career. His subjects were largely domestic or figurative, and a distinct Mediterranean verve presides in the treatment.
He initially became famous as the “King of the Fauves”, an inappropriate name for this gentlemanly intellectual: there was no wildness in him, though there was much passion. He is an awesomely controlled artist, and his spirit, his mind, always had the upper hand over the “beast” of Fauvism.
Example of his work and extended biography can be found here.