Press Release

The Barnes Foundation Brings Together Leading Scholars from Across the Globe for Sweeping Discussion of New Research on Matisse

Philadelphia, PA

International symposium takes place October 13 – 15, 2016

In an unprecedented symposium exploring Henri Matisse’s life and work, the Barnes Foundation, home to one of the largest and most important holdings of Matisse in the world, will convene leading international scholars to share new research and insights on the artist. Taking place October 1315, 2016, Looking at Matisse Today: A Symposium will be led by Sylvie Patry, Deputy Director for Collections and Exhibitions and Gund Family Chief Curator. The event, the first of its kind to be hosted by the Barnes Foundation, will take place at the Foundation’s Philadelphia campus and is designed to probe possible fresh approaches to Matisse’s work, both with regard to his iconic works and within the larger context of the history of modernism.

“What better place to revive a discussion of Matisse’s place today and how we view his art than the Barnes, where the span of his artistic career is so well represented and his development as an artist was nourished?” said Patry. “Our hope with this symposium, which is inspired by the recently published Matisse in the Barnes Foundation by Yve-Alain Bois—the first authoritative publication on the Barnes’s Matisse collection—is not only to open new paths of exploration for French and American scholars of Matisse, but also to advance Franco-American scholarship and cultural exchange.”

Looking at Matisse Today: A Symposium is sponsored by Freeman’s auction house and American Airlines, with generous support from the Georges Lurcy Charitable and Educational Trust and individual donors. In connection with the Barnes’s recent publication of Matisse in the Barnes Foundation, and as part of the Foundation’s commitment to being a forum for research, exploration, and the development of new scholarship, Looking at Matisse Today: A Symposium will feature papers by a roster of some 20 scholars. Patry, Barbara Buckley, Senior Director of Conservation and Chief Conservator of Paintings, and Thom Collins, Executive Director and President, will take part.

“Among the 59 works in the Barnes collection are such historically significant paintings as Le Bonheur de vivre (The Joy of Life) and The Dance, which were pivotal in the evolution of Matisse’s art, but also in their profound influence on other artists and on the trajectory of art in the 20th century,” said Collins. “It’s our privilege to welcome leading scholars to share new ideas on the artist against the incredible backdrop of our holdings and in celebration of Dr. Albert C. Barnes’ long relationship with Matisse.”

In recent decades, numerous exhibitions and publications have reframed interpretations of Matisse’s work, forming a basis for discussions on the influence and understanding of the artist. Topics to be discussed at the Barnes’s symposium include the artist’s creative process, the role of drawing in his work, specific moments in his career, and his relationship to objects—particularly those from non-Western traditions. Matisse in the Barnes Foundation is a three-volume catalogue raisonné of the Barnes Foundation’s Matisse collection, edited by Yve-Alain Bois, professor of art history at the School of Historical Studies at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, NJ. This publication on one of the largest and most important holdings of Matisse offers fresh scholarship and furthers understanding of Matisse’s technique. It provides detailed interpretive analyses of the Matisse paintings in the Barnes Collection, including the stories behind acquisitions of the works as well as their critical reception, and presents a study of these holdings with unprecedented depth.

Looking at Matisse Today: A Symposium is sponsored by Freeman's and American Airlines. With generous support from the Georges Lurcy Charitable and Educational Trust and individual donors.


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