Matisse: Life and Spirit Sydney 2021-2022

Henri Matisse and the landscape of pleasure

Our wondrous Art Gallery of New South Wales has, once again, excelled itself by bringing an exhibition of breathtaking scope and depth to our shores, in this case a survey of the work of one of the major painters of the modernist movement of the 20th century, Henri Matisse. Drawn primarily from the collection of France’s National Museum of Modern Art, it will allow Australian visitors to view more works by Matisse than they could normally see even by visiting the Pompidou Centre in Paris itself. The exhibition contains more than one hundred works but, perhaps more importantly, some of the seminal masterpieces of his career.

Above: The modernistic Pompidou Centre, the first of the great museums built by presidential ambition. Perhaps Australian prime ministers might profitably learn from this Gallic traditional of presidential largesse…

The work of Matisse has always been highly significant in itself, but its innate exuberance and joy strike a particularly apposite note for Australians as we emerge, gratefully, from recent lockdown experiences. In Matisse, I suspect, we may well rediscover what the French call ‘la joie de vivre’ (the joy of life).

Context: The two poles of modern art

For much of the 20th century, Henri Matisse and Pablo Picasso represented the two mighty – and antithetical – poles of modern art. For the social and cultural historian, their respective careers also prove the point that there is not one single paradigm for the complicated interactions between the artist, his or her artistic production, and the historical and social circumstances of the time in which they live.

For example, Pablo Picasso’s passionate engagement with the key events of his era was vividly demonstrated recently by the exhibition Picasso and War (2019, Museum of Les Invalides, Paris). Henri Matisse, by contrast, lived through exactly the same era, witnessed almost exactly the same events, and yet created a visual art that was largely free of any references to the tragic conflicts of the 20th century, or even to some of the painful conflicts in his own private life.  Art historian Sebastian Smee, quoting biographer Hilary Spurling, notes that Matisse actually suffered severe self-doubt, professional fear for his professional standing, even fear of blindness, insomnia and marriage instability, and yet Spuring describes his paintings as “anguish projected in tranquility”.

These two poles, however, were by no means insulated from each other, and were definitely not binary opposites: in the seminal exhibition Matisse/Picasso (The Tate Gallery, London, 2002), scholars such as Elizabeth Cowling and John Golding usefully traced the interaction of the two artists as they ‘fired shots across each other’s bows’. Pablo Picasso explicitly stated that he considered Matisse the only modern artist worthy of being his rival. Matisse occasionally painted in the manner of Picasso, – as we can see in the National Gallery of Australia’s The Abduction of Europa (1929, in the exhibition) – and vice-versa. Matisse, for his part, stated: “only one person has the right to criticise me, that is Picasso.” This was an artistic battle of two titans of modern art, hurling their thunderbolts at each other in tit-for-tat exchanges. The story of this rivalry has also been analysed in detail in Jack Flam’s book, Matisse/Picasso, (see bibliography).

Contrary to the impassioned Picasso of Guernica and of Weeping Woman, Matisse created, instead, what I have called a ‘Landscape of Pleasure’, a highly personalised, often idyllic world of seclusion and leisure. The current exhibition from France’s National Museum of Modern Art and other museums, offers an opportunity to take a visual stroll through this landscape. In this paper, I shall examine some of the works in the 2021 exhibition, but will also put them in the context of other key paintings from his work.

Early works: Towards Fauvism, 1895-1909

The first room of the exhibition is, naturally, devoted to Matisse’s early works. In this case, this standard survey procedure offers more than a routine developmental glimpse into his early efforts. These paintings trace the startlingly rapid escalation of his practice. Matisse had come to Paris aged just 22, and had entered the studio of the highly successful and highly academic – but conservative – William Bouguereau. Matisse quickly tired of the master’s inflexible aesthetic, and in 1892 entered the studio of the more gentle, reclusive Symbolist painter, Gustave Moreau. Moreau encouraged the individual creativity of each student, and certainly lit the way for Matisse to explore his own style.

The lessons of Belle-Île, 1895

A third significant figure in Matisse’s early development did not come from the Paris art world. One of the most unassuming paintings in this room of early works is in fact one of the most significant: an unfinished canvas executed in 1896 when Matisse travelled to the rugged, sea-swept island of Belle-Île off the coast of Brittany. The Australian painter John Peter Russell was already working there with his mate Claude Monet, and was painting seascapes every bit as adept as those of the French master. Russell took one look at Matisse’s rather dark palette, and taught him how to lighten his colours and to loosen his brushstroke.  It is to the eternal credit of the Art Gallery of New South Wales that, in 2018, it arranged another breathtaking exhibition, ‘John Russell. Australia’s French Impressionist’, which explored the interaction between these three painters. In that exhibition, visitors could clearly trace the progressive liberation of Matisse’s style. This episode has been studied in the exhibition catalogue Belle-Île. Monet, Russell and Matisse in Brittany. (There is a also review of this exhibition at AcademyTravelBlog. See bibliography). It is most gratifying that an Australian artist should have facilitated such a transformation for a major modern European artist.

An example of Matisse’ early quite dark style: Belle-Île (1896) (not in exhibition).

Evidence of Matisse’ rapid development under John Russell’s tutelage: Belle-Île (1896) (not in exhibition)

Early works

Subsequently, we can trace the rapid escalation from a work like The Reader (1895), with its hints of a calm domestic interior reminiscent of the Dutch Golden Age, to a much more gestural painting such as Still Life with Coffee Pot (c. 1901).

There are many points of genesis here. Matisse defined his aesthetic, stating: “Slowly I discovered the secret of my art. It consists of a meditation on nature, on the expression of a dream inspired by nature.” Even at this early stage, the window becomes an important optic for him as a link between the interior and the external world, as we see in the drawing and the unfinished painting from his studio on Quai St. Michael, View of the Saint Michel Bridge (c. 1900).

Matisse, The St. Michel Bridge, (c.1900)

Perhaps more startling again is a small sculpture in bronze, Jaguar Devouring a Hare (1899-1901) copied from a composition by the sculptor Barye. Matisse might have been dutifully learning his trade by copying from an established master, but the gestural freedom and the agitated surface attest to very considerable independence, not to mention energy. By 1902, Matisse had the independence to appropriate one of the most established genres of European art – the Orientalist scene – and to subvert it.

Henri Matisse, Jaguar devouring a hare (after Barye), (1899-1901)

 His The Algerian Woman (Spring, 1902) combines a riotous array of bright fabrics with the broadly painted figure of the notional ‘Algerian’, her face in particular painted with considerable force.

This early period of Matisse’s work has previously been given its due importance in an exhibition at the Departmental Museum Matisse at Cateau-Cambrésis in 2019, called Devenir/Becoming Matisse; its catalogue is charmingly printed in French and English parallel texts (see bibliography).

Context: The magical summer at Collioure 1905

Any survey of Matisse’s works must acknowledge an episode that was seminal in the development of his career, and indeed of the whole movement that came to be known as Fauvism (‘The Wild Beasts’). In mid-1905, Matisse joined up with Dérain and Vlaminck and collaborated on a process of turning up the heat on an already radical modern art movement. Even today, these works are visually exhilarating, if not startling; they are explosive, to the point of being lambent. Their main features are landscapes and port scenes basking in the brilliant sunlight of the town of Collioure, near France’s border with Spain. They are pointed in high-keyed, often primary colours. The palate is often further enflamed by the incendiary use of complete complementary colours (opposites on the colour wheel, such as red vs green). Finally, the paint surface is not continuous: some areas of canvas are left bare, which only enhances the visual impression of form utterly dissolved – rather than defined – by light. These features are exemplified by Matisse’s The Red Rooves (Collioure, July-August 1905, not in the exhibition).

A classic example of a revolutionary paiting from ‘that summer’ in Collioure: Matisse’s The Red Rooves (Collioure, July-August 1905, not in the exhibition).

 The Long Gallery: the Radical Years, 1914-1918

From the first room of early works, the exhibition opens out onto a majestic long gallery containing some of Matisse’s most bold and experimental works.

For example, visitors may be startled to see one of Matisse’s rare excursions into Cubism. His White and Pink Head (1914) began as a standard portrait of his daughter, Marguerite.  Mid-stream, Matisse abruptly declared that the painting had to change direction, and he erased the existing portrait, and proceeded to execute a rigorously Cubist painting, with Marguerite’s face and torso relentlessly dissected by heavy black lines. This appears to have been as a result of Matisse’s conversations about Cubism with his friend, Juan Gris. (This portrait of his daughter also has particular poignancy because she would later serve the French Resistance in the Second World War, and be arrested, incarcerated and tortured by the Gestapo in France.)

Matisse’s White and Pink Head (1914) shows that in this period on intense quest and experimentation, he was even prepared to essay himself in the manner of Cubism.

After the outbreak of war in 1914, Matisse moved his family out of northern France to the safety of Collioure in southern France.

One painting in this section may astonish viewers: it is the almost completely abstract French Window at Collioure (1914). Matisse might have been referring to this work when he stated: “Black is a force. I use it as ballast to simplify construction”. The exhibition curators usefully caution us, however, that this utter minimalism might not have been what the artist intended the painting to eventually be; he considered it unfinished.

Matisse, French Window at Collioure (1914). Matisse scholars warn us that this was an unfinished canvas; the artist may not have intended quite this startling degree of minimalism and abstraction.

Another startling experimental painting is Matisse’s Portrait of Greta Prozor (late 1916). Here, Matisse essays a process of the most severe simplification and stylization. If this is indeed intended to be a portrait, it does not aim to capture physical appearance or even personality, so much as style and presence. The actress stares stolidly into space, but we do get a general sense of her elegance and self-assured poise from the fluidly flowing lines of her body; she is languidly draped on a chair, almost like a garment. Her dress is painted in a uniform tone of deep blue, with an emphatic overlay of thick black lines to define her limbs. The setting is even more minimalistic, with a roughly brushed zone of grey to the left of the tall armchair and, irrationally, a zone of nondescript yellow to the right, the latter matching the fabric on the armchair. Matisse is pushing art to the very edge here, and the result is visually thrilling.

Matisse’s startlingly minimalistic Portrait of Greta Prozor (late 1916).

We see the same extreme minimalism in the Portrait of Auguste Pellerin II (1917). Matisse was much interested in this very wealthy businessman, not least because he was an avid art collector who owned 150 Cézannes. He commissioned two portraits from Matisse. He clearly had the visual literacy to be able to understand what Matisse was trying to do with this stark minimalism. The frontality, formality and emanated authority of this powerful individual are powerfully conveyed. The severe simplification and stylization of the facial features might have been inspired by African tribal sculpture.

Matisse’s stark and powerful Portrait of Auguste Pellerin II (1917) takes the reduction of the human figure to an almost primitivistic level.

We may better judge the extreme traveled here when we compare this ruthlessly stylized representation to Matisse’s original portrait of the sitter in pencil.

Matisse’s original sketch for is Portrait of Auguste Pellerin suggests that he might have initially intended a much more traditional rendering of his sitter. Indeed, the, first portrait, Portrait of Auguste Pellerin I, was also much closer to traditional portrait practice, and was much less rigourously simplified.

A parallel search: Figures and Interiors, 1909-1930

This centrally placed room holds another revelation for visitors: the sheer, raw power of his sculpture in bronze. Most imposing are the four massive vertical slabs known as The Backs (1909, 1913, 1916-1917, 1930), showing a single monumental nude female figure from behind, with the head cradled sideways in the left arm. The first is already a much simplified and physically massive figure, but from that physical postulate the subsequence three figures are relentlessly reduced to basic masses. Matisse created a total of sixty-nine sculptures, and this production spans his career from 1899 to 1950, starting with the very early sculpture after Barye that we saw in Room 1.

The monumental sequence The Backs (1909, 1913, 1916-1917, 1930) demonstrates the relentless reduction and simplification of Matisse’s practice in sculpture, in parallel to that of his painted works.

This room also contains two sets of portrait busts, Henriette and Jeannette, both of which go through the same rapid escalation from quite representational studies of heads to the dramatically twisted and expressionist style in bronze. There are armchairs for the public in this room, and one is well advised to slow down here, to take a seat and to ponder the full force of Matisse’s sculptural practice. It is true that Matisse made relatively fewer aesthetic statements about his sculptural practice, and so it has been easy to under-estimate his practice in this field.

Matisse’s art took another bold turning with his Odalisque with Red Culottes (autumn 1921).  By this date, Matisse had moved to Nice, and had discovered his ideal model in Henriette Darricarrère. To understand Matisse’s radicalism in this genre, we need to glance backwards to the orientalist nudes of Ingres and Delacroix, not to mention the fleshy, voluptuous paintings of imagined harems in the painters of the 19th century Orientalist school, such as Jean-Léon Gérome. These opulent sexual fantasies were, by definition, fictions, given that no western male was ever likely to be granted access to a real harem; even Delacroix, for example, only gained access only to interiors in Jewish homes in Algeria.

Jean-Léon Gérome’s Visit to Turkish Harem (1843) is typical of a genre that retailed steamy and titillating sexual scenes under the spurious guise of the ‘ethnographic’ study of foreign cultures. These were in fact the soft-core pornography of Europe’s 19th century bourgeoisie.

Matisse deconstructed all this florid nonsense, and reconstructed his own, modernist version of the odalisque. His new studio at Nice became a stage-set, fitted out with a riot of standing screens, exotic carpets and brightly patterned fabrics that he had purchased on his travels in Algeria and Morocco. But compared to the theatrical illusionism and cultural nonsense of the 19th century Orientalists, Matisse makes it clear that Henriette is in effect sitting in a stage set, a carefully confabulated facsimile of a fictive oriental world. Warm tones dominate the palette, and are only heightened by secondary, cooler tomes such as light blue.

Most impressive is Matisse’s Decorative Figure on an ornamental background of 1925-1926. This is a large canvas, upon which all sense of pictorial space and three-dimensionality has been expunged. We can barely read that the nude model must be sitting on some sort of a divan, but this only serves to further obscure the division between the floor and the wall behind, both of which are heavily patterned to the point of being riotous. In contrast to Matisse’s sensuous ‘odalisques’, this sitter is both monumentalized, with the left leg being unnaturally enormous, and rigorously simplified. The line of her back is non-naturalistic, being a harsh, unbroken vertical. Her neck is, similarly, both massive and vertical, and her facial features are painted minimalistically. The exhibition usefully quotes Matisse on this point: “The subject of a picture and its background must have the same value: there is no principal feature, only the pattern is important.”

Matisse’s Decorative Figure on an ornamental background emphasizes the strongly decorative pattern his work had taken by 1925-1926.

This snapshot by an unknown photographer captures the way Matisse posed and framed his models – in this case a woman named Zita  – in his studio in Nice. The image was made in 1928.,cs_tinysrgb,dn_72,dpr_2.0,f_auto,fl_progressive.keep_iptc,w_950/dmnsfw0pomnirwentvzu.jpg

A transcendental purity: The Chapel at Vence (1945-1948)

We come now to the greatest gem of the exhibition: an entire room set up to create an impression of Matisse’s Chapel of the Holy Rosary at Vence. Personally, I would have judged such a project of reconstitution to be ‘mission impossible’, given that the luminous, transcendental stained glass at Vence cannot possibly travel for exhibition.

I was not prepared for the experience awaiting me: the effect of this room was so beautiful that I was shaken to the core. A large, stately room painted in pure white evokes the puristic interior of the chapel. And the sets of paper-cut designs for the windows can be moved and these – the second of the three sets created by Matisse – are mounted on the walls. Finally, at one end of the room, a towering video screen offers lingering shots of the actual interior of the Vence chapel. People sit on a central seat in contemplative silence, transfixed by this luminous, serene and transcendental space.

Matisse had been approached to design and decorate a chapel for the order of Dominican nuns at Vence; its formal title was the Chapel of the Rosary. It was to prove his magnum opus, in that he designed the actual building, as well as the stained-glass windows, its fixtures and furniture and even the liturgical garments, in consultation with an architect and a priest. Perhaps more impressively, he assumed a dual ambition. One was, naturally, to illustrate the Christian liturgy of the Catholic Church. His second goal was not specifically religious, but very definitely spiritual. He explained that it was important that: “visitors to the chapel experience a lightening of the spirit. So that, even without being believers, they find themselves in an environment where the spirit is elevated, where thought is clarified, where feeling itself is lightened.” Even in the reconstituted form as we see it in Sydney, I believe that visitors will experience one or both of these intentions. The visit to the Vence room is not one to be rushed: sit and stay, and let it speak to your heart and soul.

One of the finest monographs on sale at the exhibition is this photographic essay on the Chapel at Vence, published by the Royal Academy, London. If you feel that you do not know this chapel well, this beautifully illustrated survey will offer you a spiritually uplifting guided tour (see bibliography).

Unsung heroes: the graphic works

There is one aspect of the exhibition that is enormously important in artistic terms, and yet quite easy to miss amongst all the larger and more brightly coloured works: the superlative survey of Matisse’s graphic works on paper. And yet, no less than his bright paintings, his writhing sculptures and exuberant paper-cuts, these are also crucial expressions of Matisse’s creative development. I was therefore frankly puzzled to hear distantly of some commentary to the effect that the exhibition had been “padded out” with graphic works, as if they were somehow inferior to ‘real’ works. I would make the counter case that any exhibition of any artist would be seriously incomplete without a full and proper consideration of that artist’s graphic work. In my view, the exhibition has not been padded out: it has been made complete, full and satisfying. It would, indeed, be deficient without such a representation of this dimension of his work.

Graphic work takes two essential forms. The first is the preparatory sketch, or set of sketches, leading up to a painting or sculpture. In the exhibition, you can, for example, view the study in ink on paper, Reclining Odalisque with Red Trousers, which began Matisse’s negotiation towards the painting, Odalisque with Red Culottes. Of course the graphic work is neither as big nor as colourful as the oil on canvas, but it is the starting point for a known end point, and it allows us to trace and to measure the distance travelled, and to track the artist’s thought processes along the way.

The second form of graphic art is that which is intended to stand as a finished work of art in itself. My personal favourites are Matisse’s linocuts, in which the subject is etched out of lino, which is inked, so the background is black, and the figures emerges in white. Have a long look at Pasiphaé, Song of Minos (1943-1944), and you will see Matisse’s art assuming a potency of a sort not seen in his other art forms.

Finally, in so far as an artist’s work is actually a commodity intended to be sold to the public, there is the crucial aspect of affordability: while rich collectors can purchase oil paintings and sculptures at substantial prices, lesser collectors might be able to afford a lithograph or a suite of graphic works in a portfolio. A very good case could be made for taking a turn around the exhibition looking at nothing but the graphic art, thereby opening up a whole new dimension of his creative work.

The Cut-Outs, 1930-1954

Matisse only began using paper cut-outs in the 1930s, when he was sixty years of age, and at that stage he was simply using them as compositional devices, to visualize the elements of a painting he intended to do. One example of this are the studies for the monumental mural The Dance (1932-1933) in the Barnes Foundation (not able to be shown in the current exhibition).

By the 1940s, Matisse had realised that paper-cuts could be a work of art in their own right, and from then until his death in 1954 produced works of breathtaking scale and gestural freedom. Art historian John Elderfield describes the sheer fluidity of his practice: Matisse’s assistants first coated sheets of paper with gouache paint, he would observe a form – such as a snail – pick up his long-bladed tailor’s sears and carve the shape he required. It is clear from the paper-cuts you will see in this section that Matisse never clipped the paper, but smoothly carved out his forms in one assured, fluid motion. This technique was, if anything, even more spontaneous that drawing. Matisse claimed that “scissors can acquire more feeling for line than pencil or charcoal.”[1] Indeed, he once claimed that the process gave him a thrill and elation similar to that of flying.

It was especially after 1941, when Matisse was recuperating from a serious operation and was confined to his bed, that he turned fully to the paper-cut medium. In 1943, he left his studio in Nice to go and live in the town of Vence. That same year, he produced the exhilarating paper-cuts of the Jazz series.

John Elderfeld, The Cut-Outs of Henri Matisse (London: Thames and Hudson, 1978), page 7.
Photo: Lluís Ribes Mateu

Matisse’s Jazz series was not intended to have any literal, illustrative reference to any specific aspect of jazz music, but to try more generally to capture its energy and free spirit of endless improvisation.

Above: Matisse paper-cutting, “an elation similar to flying”.

Tahiti: Journeys and Memories, 1930-1946

You will find examples of the book-sized paper-cuts in the exhibition, but you will also be introduced to their next iteration, their translation into truly monumental works of painted paper glued onto on canvas. The great compositions, Polynesia: The Sea and Polynesia: The Sky (1946) were in fact a memory of his visit to Tahiti some fifteen years earlier. At that time, Matisse had reveled in swimming in the crystal clear water at the atoll of Fakarava, using a glass box to peer down to see life forms below. The visit did not, however, immediately produce a great deal of artistic output; a few drawings only. But in the 1940s, his travel became a rich retrospective source of visual impressions and motifs; filtered through memory, Tahiti became a feast of wonderful designs. On these two-dimensional surfaces, chequered in light and dark blue squares for the background, he places a joyful, even riotous, assembly of birds, fish and seaweed.

The exhibition closes with some imposing works that prove that Matisse continued to innovate and experiment throughout his career. Tahiti II: Window in Tahiti (1936) revisits Matisse’s prime motif of the window as the link between the inner and the outer world. It originated in a simple sketch Matisse made from his room in the Hotel Stuart during his visit to Papeete in 1930. It is a monumental painting in gouache on canvas, and was one of two paintings he executed as a modello for a proposed tapestry.

Matisse’s Tahiti II: Window in Tahiti (1936) takes his art onto a new decorative scale and explores the crossover between painted images and the monumental tapestry.

I warmly commend this exhibition to our Academy readers and travellers. I have previously had the joy of viewing one such exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in New York in 1992; I confess that I had never expected to see a comparable exhibition in one of our art galleries in Australia.

Bravo, the Art Gallery of New South Wales!


For reasons of health and safety, the large exhibition is spread out across a very considerable floor space. This means that it copes very well indeed with large crowds, although it might still be wise to arrive about 10.00 am to be able to contemplate the art works. By about midday, the crowds are streaming in.

Folding stools for convenience

 Visitors should be aware that the Art Gallery of New South Wales can offer very light-weight folding stools, which can easily be carried. For elderly visitors, you may request one of these from the staff who will be checking in your tickets.

Temporary Gallery Society rooms

 Members of the AGNSW and the NGV should be aware that the Gallery Society Rooms are currently closed for renovation, but the Society has set up a temporary room just beyond the bookshop, located beside the rooms of Australian art. Services are currently limited to tea and coffee, but the room itself is a lovely haven from the crowds.

Excellent gallery publications

There is an excellent exhibition catalogue, although at one stage supplies had not come through and the AGNSW had to take mail orders. It is expected that copies will soon become available.

In addition, there is an excellent room brochure – available free of charge – for those who would prefer a more concise and accessible introduction to each room of the exhibition.

There are also excellent resources for children. Full credit to the AGNSW for looking after the public! You cannot fault their courtesy and care. For a public art gallery, this institution is a paragon.

Exhibition gift shop

The exhibition bookshop is located at the exit from the exhibition. It has a most impressive and tasteful array of merchandise, ranging from art books to other gifts. It might be well worth a visit.


References: Audio-visual documentaries

The Seventh Art: Painting the Modern Garden: Monet to Matisse

(n.p.: Exhibition on screen, 2016)

The Seventh Art: Matisse – The Paper Cuts

(n.p.: Exhibition on screen, 2017)

* Highly recommended: This impressive new series of art documentaries on DVD is absolutely excellent. All the documentaries in the series are filmed in the context of a major international exhibition devoted to a given artist, often in London, Paris or New York. Thus, the commentaries are done in front of the actual paintings. If you happen to have missed a particular exhibition, this is the next best thing: a virtual visit. Moreover, the commentaries are by museum directors and curators, and give us access to truly expert opinion.

References: Electronic

“Matisse: the painter as sculptor”.

Departmental Museum Matisse, Cateau-Cambrésis

References: Exhibitions

Exhibition catalogue, 2021, Henri Matisse

(Sydney: Art Gallery of New South Wales, 2021).


Exhibition catalogue, 2019, Devenir/Becoming Matisse

(Departmental Museum Matisse, Cateau-Cambrésis, published by Milan: Silvana Editoral, 2019).


Exhibition catalogue, 2018, Masters of Modern Art from the Hermitage

(Sydney: Art Gallery of New South Wales, 2018).


Exhibition catalogue, 2002, Matisse: Picasso

(London: Tate Gallery, 2002).


Exhibition catalogue, 2001, Belle-Île. Monet, Russell and Matisse in Brittany.

(Sydney: Art Gallery of New South Wales, 2001).


Exhibition catalogue, 1992, Henri Matisse. A Retrospective

(New York: Museum of Modern Art, 1992).


Exhibition catalogue, 1988, Masterpieces from the Hermitage

(Melbourne: National Gallery of Victoria, 1988), catalogue number 28, pp. 68-69.


References: Monographs

 Michael Adcock, John Russell, Australia’s French Impressionist (review auricle)

Published by: Dr Michael Adcock. Academy Travel  Blog,  August 10th, 201

Alfred Barr, Matisse. His Art and his Public (New York: The Museum of Modern Art, 1951,1974)


Anna Barskaya, French Painting from the Hermitage: Mid-19th to early 20th century

(St. Petersburg: Aurora Art Publishers, 1975,1987)


John Elderfeld, The Cut-Outs of Henri Matisse

(London: Thames and Hudson, 1978)


Jack D. Flam, Matisse on Art

(Berkeley: University of California Press, 1994)


Jack D. Flam, Matisse/Picasso. The story of their rivalry and friendship

(Cambridge, Mass: Westview Press, 2003)


Jean Guichard-Meili, Matisse.

(New York: Praegar Publishers, 1967)


Marie-Therèse Pulvenis de Séligny, Matisse. The Chapel at Vence.

(London: Royal Academy of the Arts, 2013).


 Sue Roe, In Montmartre. Picasso, Matisse and Modernism in Paris, 1900-1910

(London: Penguin/Fig Tree Books, 2014)


Hilary Spurling, The Unknown Matisse. A Life of Henri Matisse. volume 1: 1869-1908.

(London: Hamish Hamilton/Penguin, 1998)


Dr Michael Adcock

Dr Michael Adcock is a social and cultural historian who specialises in the field of modern France. He has published works on the French Revolution with Cambridge University Press. Michael has over ten years’ experience in leading residential study tours in Paris and France. He has a strong interest in the interpretation of the arts in the context of the political and social moment in which they were created. Michael holds a Bachelor of Arts (Combined First-Class Honours in French and History), a Master of Arts (French History) and a Doctor of Philosophy (French History), all from the University of Melbourne. Michael led his first Academy Travel tour to Paris in 2006 and speaks fluent French.

Upcoming tours led by Dr Michael Adcock


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