This is one of the Great Modern Masters series on 20th-century artists which introduce modern art and artists. This book covers the work of French painter, Henri Matisse (1869-1954). In the early years of the century he became the leader of a group of avant-garde artists called the Fauves (wild beasts), known for their use of brilliant, aggressive colours. His career spanned more than five decades and during that time he developed many other styles, from austere variations on Cubism to sensual interiors and figure paintings. Throughout his life, Matisse remained preoccupied by the subject of the female model; during the many years he spent on the Mediterranean coast he painted innumerable fantasies of women in exotic costumes. Late in life, in ill health and no longer able to sustain the exertion of painting, Matisse invented the technique of making pictures from pieces of coloured paper cut out with scissors. He achieved in old age a final burst of creativity in his mural and stained glass designs for a chapel at Vence in the south of France, an acclaimed ensemble of church decoration.