Henri Matisse was born on the last day of 1869, a cold December day in Le Cateau-Cambrésis, in Northern France. His parents were wealthy, descended from generations of weavers. At 17, Matisse went to Paris to study law. But two years later he discovered “a kind of paradise” when he picked up a paintbrush and started experimenting. His mother encouraged his ambitions, while his father regarded him as a disappointment. Despite the father-son discord, Matisse loved his birthplace. Two years before his death, he donated his most prized works to his hometown, which were placed in galleries of his design, the Musée Matisse. In 10 sections, and with 250 works from the Musée, this exhibition surveys the entirety of the artist’s career. It’s the largest Matisse show in China to date. —E.C.