Portrait of Pierre H Matisse in his art studio performing papercut pieces.

The Catalyst

Who is Pierre Matisse?  The answer seems to be as complex as his life.    With a most extraordinary view of the world, Pierre has brought his journey into focus using art to express his varied experiences.  Having lived the entire spectrum of emotions, it is no surprise that his work reflects passion, beauty, joy, love and freedom.  One is drawn to Pierre's work because of its intensity, power and depth of color, however on closer inspection, the drama of the scene plays out until it feels as though you are part of the picture.  As with most projects, first there needs to be an idea.  In this particular instance Pierre H. Matisse, The Idea Man, is also an integral part of the story. 

Pierre was born to artist parents in Paris on February 1st, 1928.  His father, Jean Matisse, was a sculptor, his mother, Louise Milhau, was a painter, sculptor and ceramist.  He grew up immersed in the world of art, being the grandson of Henri Matisse.  Pierre's childhood involved the artistic life of Paris and the French Riviera.  The Matisse family often moved, "entourage" from one location to another, in France and Spain during his early years.  He had the opportunity to meet and spend time among some of the most famous artists of this century, Pablo Picasso, Georges Braque, Aristide Maillol, Jean Effel, Salvador Dali, Pierre Bonnard, Marcel Duchamp, Henri Matisse, Fernand Leger, Maurice De Vlaminck and Auguste Lumière.

 As a teenager, he was involved in a world that dealt with cruelty, intrigue, horror, and the destruction of war.  Both Pierre and his father, Jean Matisse, were heavily involved in French underground activities.  Before the war ended, his grandmother and aunt had been imprisoned for their subversive activities.  Both Pierre, and his father, were on the run from the Nazis for their efforts in aiding the British spies and saboteurs. Occasionally they engaged in their own sabotage efforts.  Some of these stories are amazing! 

 At the age of sixteen, on D-Day, during the invasion, Pierre found himself in Normandy forty miles from the landing beaches.  For weeks he was caught in the German lines.  Next, in no-man's land, between the allies and the Nazis forces trying to get back to the British.  Once liberated, he served as translator between the British and French authorities.  He then volunteered, serving in co-operation with the British military transport, to repatriate the French civilian refugees displaced by the Normandy battle.

 When the war ended, he worked in the restoration of the art and historical monuments damaged by the war in France. At nineteen, he volunteered for a French commando paratrooper outfit, engaged in North Africa.  Half of his group was sent to Indochina.   Pierre fought in Algeria.  Eventually earning a PhD. in antique furniture restoration and authentification after his return from duty.

 He is quite an adventurer, both a sailor and a pilot.  He dreaded the memory of war, and in the early 50's struck out to Canada with his family.  He was a settler in the wilderness of the Canadian frontier.  Now as a citizen of the United States, Pierre is international in his thinking with ties to France and Canada. He has a variety of societies in his ancestry: French, some traceable back to Charlemagne, German and Spanish, in fact some of his ancestors were Mediterranean pirates. 

Pierre is a man who has not lost the sense of wonder of life, inquisitive, full of energy and open to every possibility, sure in his knowledge of himself, truly his own self.

 As an artist, Pierre has always pursued his work in a generous manner.  Giving an entire series of Florida landscapes to the Deland Museum, which have become a part of their permanent collection.  These paintings were executed in the 70's to record, for future generations, an ecology on the St John's River that is quickly disappearing.  He has also given or created commissioned pieces to help many other organizations such as Project Hope, The American Red Cross, Variety Clubs International, The National Epilepsy Foundation, Music Educators National Conference and Fame, UNICEF Orphans foundation, The Sunrise Children’s Hospital of Las Vegas, The Arnold Palmer Children's Hospital, The Denver Children’s Hospital, Make-A-Wish Foundation, A Community of Angels, The United Nation’s Women’s Guild, Code Amber Organization, The Boggy Creek Gang, The Hole-in-the-Wall Gang and many others.

After twenty years as a cartographic manager, for a government agency, Pierre, to put it in his own words "retired from conventional work."  For a character like him, idleness is an anathema, so now Pierre is using his creative talent and boundless energy painting, writing, teaching and refining an art form known as cuts outs and translating different mediums into new avant garde mixed media. Today the dream and plans for this new artistic exploration and using his art to help others has become the driving force in Pierre's life.  Above all, Pierre believes in freedom...  as do all artists.

Who is Pierre H. Matisse?

 A man with:

  • Tremendous talent to convey emotion through art;
  • Incredible drive and energy, always in motion;
  • An old guard code of honor and ethics based on inner integrity;
  • A natural love of nature with a boundless adventurous spirit;
  • A sense of humor that is expressed with whimsy and color;
  • A gentle temperament, never accepting the horrors of war, yet understanding the need to fight injustice, persecution, and tyranny.
 Pierre H. Matisse is an idealist.
His faith leads him to hopes and dreams of a better world for future generations, while creating works with passion and gusto…
using his art and generosity in pursuit of these goals each day.