Henri Matisse (1869 1954), considered to be the 20th centurys most important French painter, communicated joy with expressive colors, striking ornamentation and bold patterns. Matisse, whose mother gave him his first art supplies while he was recovering from an illness, described his discovery of art as a kind of paradise. He was originally viewed as a Fauvist, and his early works were exceptionally mature. Influenced by Impressionism and Japanese art, Matisse made color a crucial element of his work, and also experimented with expressive abstraction. When he was nearly 80, Matisse volunteered to decorate the Dominican nuns' chapel at Vence, France. Suffering from anxiety, Matisse found serenity in painting.