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A collection of thoughts and quotations by Henri Matisse on art, painting, creativity, joy, healing, design, emotion, sculpture, expression and courage.

26 Notable Quotes By Henri Matisse, Whose Paintings Speak Louder Than Words

Quick Facts

Famous As
Painter, Sculptor

Born On

Died On

Born In
Le Cateau-Cambrésis, Nord

Died At Age

Henri Matisse was a renowned painter famous for his fauvist style. He is believed to be one of the revolutionary artists who contributed significantly in developing visual arts during the starting years of the 20th century. His first public appearance as a painter was at the ‘Société Nationale des Beaux-Arts’ where he exhibited five paintings. He widely traveled to nurture his art and got influenced by the ‘pointillist’ style of Georges Seurat and Paul Signac. He started exhibiting at famous galleries which led to his creative breakthrough period. During this period he made some major paintings and became one of the leading painters of the Fauves (a group of modern realistic painters of the 20th century). He further collaborated with his life-long friend and legendary artist Pablo Picasso to contribute significantly to the Gertrude Stein’s collection. Some of his notable works were ‘Luxe, Calme et Volupté’ and ‘La Danse’ which were well appreciated by the masses. He was honored with the ‘French Legion of Honor’ which is the most reputed award of France. We bring to you a collection of thoughts and quotations by Henri Matisse which have been curated from his life and work. Go through the quotes and sayings by Henri Matisse that will leave a lasting impression on you.

Creativity takes courage.

- Henri Matisse

There are always flowers for those who want to see them.

- Henri Matisse

You must forget all your theories, all your ideas before the subject. What part of these is really your own will be expressed in your expression of the emotion awakened in you by the subject.

- Henri Matisse

We ought to view ourselves with the same curiosity and openness with which we study a tree, the sky or a thought, because we too are linked to the entire universe.

- Henri Matisse

To look at something as though we had never seen it before requires great courage.

- Henri Matisse

...for whether we want to or not, we belong to our time and we share in its opinions, its feelings, even its delusions.

- Henri Matisse

Another word for creativity is courage.

- Henri Matisse

You study, you learn, but you guard the original navet. It has to be within you, as desire for drink is within the drunkard or love is within the lover.

- Henri Matisse

Nothing can be accomplished without love.

- Henri Matisse

Exactitude is not truth.

- Henri Matisse

I don't know whether I believe in God or not. I think, really, I'm some kind of a Buddhist. But the essential thing is to put oneself in a frame of mind which is close to that of prayer.

- Henri Matisse

To arrive is to be in prison.

- Henri Matisse

I am unable to distinguish between the feeling I have for life and my way of expressing it.

- 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.

- Henri Matisse

Derive happiness in oneself from a good day’s work, from illumination the fog that surround

- 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.

- Henri Matisse

Whoever wishes to devote himself to painting should begin by cutting out his own tongue

- Henri Matisse

It has bothered me all my life that I do not paint like everybody else.

- Henri Matisse

Don’t wait for inspiration. It comes while one is working.

- Henri Matisse

Time extracts various values from a painter's work. When these values are exhausted the pictures are forgotten, and the more a picture has to give, the greater it is.

- 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

- Henri Matisse

Impressionism is the newspaper of the soul

- 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.

- Henri Matisse

I do not distinguish between the construction of a book and that of a painting and I always proceed from the simple to the complex." - 1946

- Henri Matisse

Instinct must be thwarted just as one prunes the branches of a tree so that it will grow better.

- Henri Matisse

When you're out of willpower, you can call on stubbornness.

- Henri Matisse