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Nicholas Watkins

(Emile Benoît )

(b Le Cateau-Cambrésis [now Le Cateau], nr Cambrai, Picardy, Dec 31, 1869; d Nice, Nov 3, 1954).

French painter, draughtsman, sculptor, printmaker, designer and writer. He came to art comparatively late in life and made his reputation as the principal protagonist of Fauvism, the first avant-garde movement at the turn of the century. He went on to develop a monumental decorative art, which was innovative both in its treatment of the human figure and in the constructive and expressive role accorded to colour. His long career culminated in a highly original series of works made of paper cut-outs, which confirmed his reputation, with Picasso, as one of the major artists of the 20th century.

Matisse was born in his grandparents’ home and grew up in the neighbouring village of Bohain-en-Vermandois, where his father’s general store had developed into a grain business. He worked first as a solicitor’s clerk in the local town of Saint-Quentin before taking a degree in law in Paris from October 1887 to August 1889, without apparently showing the slightest interest in art; on returning home he resumed work as a solicitor’s clerk. Bored by the routine of office life, he attended drawing classes at the Ecole Quentin Latour before going to work....

Article

Jean Selz

(b Paris, April 5, 1876; d Rueil-la-Gadelière, Eure-et-Loir, Oct 7, 1958).

French painter, printmaker, draughtsman and writer. His nature, character, tastes and way of life were in perfect harmony with the freedom, daring and violence of his painting. He was brought up in a musical environment: his father, of Flemish origin, was a violin teacher and his mother, from Lorraine, was a piano teacher. He studied music himself to quite a high standard and later played the double-bass (and sometimes the bass drum, a source of considerable pleasure) in his regimental band. His family had come to live at Le Vésinet near Paris, and he spent his childhood both there and later at Chatou on the Seine. From 1892 he began to take an interest in painting, though he worked as a mechanic and became a racing cyclist.

After his first marriage (to Suzanne Berly) Vlaminck gave up cycling and returned to music. He gave violin lessons and played the violin in popular orchestras and café-concerts in Paris. He also made his début as a journalist in the late 19th century and wrote articles for anarchist papers such as ...