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Undeterred by critics, Matisse honed his instincts and went against trends to develop an expressive style that would have massive ramifications. As both a friend to and rival of Picasso, who was 11 years younger, Matisse pushed boundaries and inspired other artists to follow his lead.

With a career that spanned 50 years, today the French artist is considered one of the foremost creators of the 20th century. From his early use of bold color to create light and shadow to his later work with cut paper, Matisse was continuously pushing the boundaries of his creativity. To celebrate his artistry and his contribution to the history of art, let’s take a look at 5 of Matisse’s most celebrated paintings.

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