Henri Matisse was born as the son of a grain merchant in the Picardy region of northern France. He studied law and worked as a law clerk. When Henri Matisse was 21 years old he became seriously ill. During the phase of convalescence Matisse started painting and discovered his love for art, which should become his life-long passion.
Two years later, in 1892, he gave up his career as a lawyer. He attended art classes at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris and dabbled in different styles. He then was influenced by the impressionist and post-impressionist painters Pisarro, Cezanne, van Gogh, Gauguin and Paul Signac and by the paintings of W. Turner.
Around the year 1905 he finally found his own style characterized by daring, bright colors executed in a broad brush stroke.