Henri Matisse’s groundbreaking work made him a modern art icon, and now his descendants are allowing his legacy to expand and exist in new forms.
Jean-Matthieu Matisse, one of the famed French painter’s great-grandchildren, founded Maison Matisse in 2017, a home decor and furnishings brand with pieces designed by both up-and-coming and established artists inspired by Henri Matisse’s work.
Matisse, 47, who runs the business with his sister Anne-Maxence, says his family began thinking about this project 10 years ago.
“The starting point was our observation that Henri Matisse’s works are often copied on various kinds of items but are not always as great as they could be,” Matisse says. “We wished to share the talent of Henri Matisse by creating objects inspired by his universe with a respectful interpretation.” Matisse says he and his family chose handcrafted home decor pieces as a way to carry on Henri Matisse’s legacy because the artist was a collector of decorative objects. Though he never worked directly with creating objects, Matisse says his great-grandfather drew inspiration from them in his practice.
Henri Matisse’s values, Matisse says, are also reflected in those of the brand: optimism, boldness, and simplicity.
“[The artists’] practice echoes his universe of shapes and colors, with an audacious approach in the world of design,” Matisse says. One of the artists selected to contribute to Maison Matisse is Italian designer Cristina Celestino. “As soon as I was introduced to the brand, its values, and above all the direct link to the Matisse family and therefore with his work, I felt honored to have been chosen to develop the first furniture collection of the brand,” Celestino says.
Celestino, who previously worked on the Back Home collection for Fendi and Fendi Casa, was selected to design the Intérieur aux aubergines collection, inspired by Henri Matisse’s 1911 painting of the same name.
Maison Matisse’s first collection launched in October 2019. Each home decor collection is inspired by a specific Henri Matisse painting, giving the artists a guideline for colors, textures, patterns, and shapes early in the design process, Matisse says.
Though their work should be representative of Henri Matisse’s style, Matisse still wants the designers to express their own creativity in their Maison Matisse pieces.