Alistair Sooke is presenting a BBC series on Modern Art. In the Telegraph, he explains why using Matisse as an example:
At some point, modern art became a brand – suggesting that art made during the 20th century has had a surprisingly broad influence. […] The more you look, the more you realise that modern art is everywhere. Take the work of Matisse. Of the four artists to feature in the series, he was born earliest, on New Year’s Eve 1869, so you might think that he would have least to do with the modern world. You would be wrong.
Matisse preserved a persona of professorial respectability throughout his life, but he painted like a wild beast. He pioneered a fierce and exceptionally free use of colour that liberated art. […] Matisse paved the way for later artists such as the Abstract-Expressionist Mark Rothko, who used to stare for hours at the Frenchman’s sumptuous 1911 canvas The Red Studio in the Museum of Modern Art in New York, until he was moved to tears. But Matisse exerted great influence beyond the world of fine art, too. Towards the end of his life, while recovering from cancer in the south of France, he developed a new technique known as the paper cut-out, characterised by bold, simplified shapes and pure, bright colours. Over the following decades, his late compositions influenced a number of different fields, including advertising, interior design, fashion – even children’s picture books. Think of the recent Apple iPod advertisements that featured silhouettes of sinuous dancers against blocks of vivid colour. They are extraordinarily similar to some of Matisse’s cut-outs, such as Icarus (1947).
Modern Masters: Why Modern Art is Everywhere (Telegraph)