Portrait of Madame Matisse (The Green Line), 1905, by Henri Matisse (National Gallery of Denmark)
Until his death at 85 in 1954, Henri Matisse’s life was a journey—both personal and artistic. His output ranges from early works inspired by classical French painting to those in post-impressionist and modernist styles, and he bridged genres from prints and paintings to sculpture and paper cut-outs. Matisse traveled the world to explore the light and colors in places beyond his native France, and his discoveries are reflected in the whimsical patterns and bold palettes of his art.
Art historian Joseph Cassar offers an in-depth look at this revolutionary giant of 20th-century art whose mastery of color and line is displayed in a body of work spanning more than a half-century.
9:30–10:45 a.m. The Early Years and the Fauve Period
The beginnings of Henri Matisse’s art reflect both his training and the risks he undertook, seen in the light-dappled, colour-saturated paintings in a style that came to be known as fauvism. Their sinuous lines and acid-bright colours brought him early recognition.
11 a.m.–12:30 p.m. Matisse’s Journeys
Matisse travelled extensively to discover new inspirations and to display his works. Some of his most influential destinations include Tangier in 1912, which inspired his orientalist-style paintings, and Tahiti in 1930 at age 60 to explore the light that his compatriot Gauguin captured in his paintings.
12:30–1:30 p.m. Lunch (participants provide their own)
1:30–2:30 p.m. A Variety of Expressions
Matisse produced drawings, paintings, prints, and sculptures. His exploration of these media helps us understand his best-known paintings.
2:45-4 p.m. The Cut-outs and the Chapel of the Rosary
The genius of Henri Matisse is that as he grew older, he remained young in spirit. His cut-outs are an invention in which scissors replaced the brush and colored paper became his canvas. In his last years, he embarked on a new project, designing a chapel for Dominican nuns in St. Paul de Vence.
World Art History Certificate elective: Earn 1 credit
*Enrolled participants in the World Art History Certificate Program receive 1 elective credit. Not yet enrolled? Learn about the program, its benefits, and how to register here.
S. Dillon Ripley Center
1100 Jefferson Dr SW
Metro: Smithsonian (Mall exit)