Bonheur_Matisse Le bonheur de vivre, 1906 Oil on canvas, in the collection of the Barnes Foundation.

Le bonheur de vivre (The Joy of Life) is regarded as one of the paintings which gave birth to modernism. It is thought that Picasso, went on to create Les Demoiselles D'Avignon, 1907, in order to provoke the art world into shock as Matisse had done with this painting.

Le bonheur de vivre has a large amount of cadmium sulfide-based yellow which means that sections of the painting are discoloring and turning white and brown, despite efforts to conserve the work.

woman-with-hat-1905 Femme au chapeau (Woman with a Hat), 1905
Image via SF MoMA

Woman with a Hat (La femme au chapeau) 1905, shocked Matisse's contemporaries as never before had they seen a portrait in which color had been so roughly applied to the face. Gertrude Stein purchased it, foreseeing it would be an important work of modernism.

bathers0-1 Bathers by a River, 1917
Image via

Matisse regarded Bathers by a River, 1917, as one of the most important works of his career. It was commissioned by his Russian patron, Sergei Shchuckin and took him over 8 years to finish. Although Matisse rejected cubism, there are references to the art form in this work.

large-seated-nude-final Large Seated Nude (1922-1929)
Image via Philadelphia Museum of Art

Matisse made over 80 sculptures during his career, predominately from bronze. Large Seated Nude (1922-1929) depicts his model Henriette Darricarrère and is one of the largest freestanding sculptures by Matisse, taking him a decade to make.

blue-nude-1952 Blue Nude II, 1952

The Blue Nudes were a series of cut-outs which Matisse completed in 1952, they are among his last works. The nudes in the cut-outs are an evolution of the figures in Le bonheur de vivre, 1906.