The work of Henri Matisse has been both a profound inspiration to his successors and a source of immense enjoyment to all who love art. Yet the apparent spontaneity of his colour and ease of his imagery were the fruit of a lifetime’s arduous labour; the simplicity of his compositions the result of a formidable intelligence.In this richly illustrated study, Lawrence Gowing takes us through Matisse’s career, assessing his influence on the art that has followed him and looking closely at Matisse’s own achievements. The detailed discussion of individual works reveals the subtlety and complexity of one of the greatest masters of our time.