When it comes to use of Color, Henri Matisse is your man.
Born in 1869, he died in 1954. He created some of the most beautiful color work in the world of art. His work is peaceful, gorgeous, easy to look at and above all infused with beautiful color schemes and harmonies.
Considering the time frame that Matisse lived through one wonders how he managed to create art that seems to be an island of perfect harmony in hues when the world was going to Hell in a hand basket.
Matisse lived through a most devastating time in history. Picasso, a contemporary of Matisse suffered in his art. The neurotic, psychotic trail Picasso left in paint marks the 20th century with the angst of modern man. This was the 20th century: two world wars, atom bombs, mass extermination, horrific destruction, brutality beyond what the world had seen all broadcast in the big screen in living color. For the average person life was anxiety ridden with political forces threatening further damage and destruction. Picasso reflected this turmoil, creating work that furthered anxiety. But Matisse? Picasso allowed almost all color to drain from the sharp edges of his canvas as holocaustic photos in black and white splashed across newspapers of bombed out buildings. It's as if he had no heart for the tender rose and mauve colors of happier days. But Matisse? Matisse's world was the shelter from the storm, the calm center in a world gone mad. He used to color to bring back the joy and smiles of humanity. Whereas another artist might go into the storm and for inspiration Matisse isolated the ideal, denied reality and continued to create art for all centuries. When the winds of change turned the world more peaceful, Matisse was there with his gorgeous color to welcome back the light.
Matisse Created the world Baudelaire imagined in his poem L'Invitation al Voyage:
"Furniture gleaming with the sheen of years would grace our bedroom; the rarest flowers, mingling their odours with vague whiffs of amber, the painted ceilings, the fathomless mirrors, the splendour of the East ... all of that would speak, in secret, to our souls, in its gentle language. There, everything is order and beauty, luxury, calm and pleasure."
This painting is from my Carnival Series: http://charlotterossmann.com/Page%20Five.htm