Matisse Colloquium to be held in Philadelphia

A conference about Henri Matisse is going to be held at the Barnes Foundation from 13th to 15th of October. It will bring scholars to Philadelphia to talk about artist’s long lasting legacy. Lectures and panels will talk about Matisse’s interest in non-Western art and will include historians Claudine Grammont and Helene Ivanoff.

“Our goal is to assess the state of our knowledge on Matisse today and to outline what could be done next in terms of future study, research, exhibitions, and collections; these are the words from the conference’s organizer, Sylvie Patry, the Barnes’s deputy director and chief curator. She thinks it is always amazing for public to comprehend that some of the famous artists such as Matisse; scholars always manage to find a new way to look at his art.

The Barnes has a long lasting connection with Matisse. In 1912, the founder Albert Barnes bought his first two work by the artists, the paintings The Sea Seen from Collioure that was painted in 1906 and Dishes and Melon that was painted somewhere between 1906 and 1907. Years have passed and Barnes continued with the support of Matisse’s work, they even invited him in 1930 to paint a canvas triptych mural for three arches at the foundation building outside Philadelphia in Lower Merion, Pennsylvania. The Project was completed in 3 years, cost Barnes $30,000 and helped Matisse to feel better who had difficulties during his years in Nice between 1917 and 1930, states the art historian Yve-Alan Bois. Bois, who was the editor of the book Matisse in the Barnes Foundation published by Thames and Hudson in January, will also speak at the conference.

“In the Nice period, (Matisse) was very frustrated, because he had been surpassed by Picasso as a champion of the avant-grade, and so he retreated” Bois claims. “The end of the 1920s was a difficult period for him. He was bored to death by his Odalisque paintings, even though they were very successful on the market. When the Barnes commission arrives, he is offered a great surface to decorate and suddenly he is plunged back into his youth.”

“The Barnes request inspired Matisse to work on something new outside of his style. “His sketches for The Dance are extraordinary because they are just a few strokes,” Bois says. “There is absolutely no description; they’re just schematic indications of the movement of the dancer. He realizes he doesn’t have to be so guarded. In the early 1930s there is definitely a change in the way he understands drawing and painting and he starts to value work that is not completely controlled.””


Henri-Emile-Benoit Matisse was born in December 31st in 1869. He was a French artist known for his use of color and his originality. He was a printmaker, draughtsman and sculptor but is known by his paintings. He is considered do be one of the artists who helped to define the plastic arts alongside with Pablo Picasso and Marcel Duchamp.

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