The American writer Gertrude Stein and her brother Leo were early collectors and supporters of Matisse paintings. Another admirer became Pablo Picasso with whom he exchanged paintings in 1907.
After World War I, Matisse had gained a high reputation and was an internationally recognized artist. In 1917 he left Paris and settled in Nice in the South of France where he remained until the end of his life. In 1925 he received the French Legion of Honor award.
The Late Years
In 1941 Matisse had an abdominal cancer surgery which had a devastating effect on his health and ability to paint. He was unable to stand upright in front of an easel. The artist therefore turned to another form of artistic expression. He created paper cut-outs in the same vivid, strong colors and daring compositions known from his paintings. He had an assistant and could work lying in bed or sitting comfortably in an arm-chair.
Henri Matisse died on November 3, 1954 in Nice as an internationally well known and highly reputable artist. He had continued creating paper cutout works until the day of his death. Pablo Picasso once said about the artist: “All things considered, there is only Matisse”.