Date of Award
College of Fine Arts
Type of Degree
Susan C. Power
This study focuses on the dialog between Henri Matisse and Pablo Picasso and lays a unique groundwork for instructors in Discipline-Based art education (DBAE). Using two artists, rather than one, it reveals the importance of the basic art elements in a comparative analysis and stylistic variation of both. The art of Matisse and Picasso was intertwined even before their first meeting as it continued to be even after Matisse’s death. It is popular belief that Matisse and his work influenced Picasso’s career, but surprisingly little attention has focused on the influence of Picasso on Matisse’s work or, more specifically, on the way in which they communicated these eloquent visual conversations. To show the extent of the communication between Matisse and Picasso, ten still life and portrait groups are analyzed and connected through their brilliant exchange of the elements of art. The emergence of the Picassian and Matissian styles will also be discussed as the language of art seems to merge what began as two distinct styles, into a wonderful and complex mix.
The art elements have been used universally as communication between the artist and the work of art, and this language of visual signs speaks to us from all of the known civilizations. Matisse and Picasso took this artistic language a step further in communicating not only of themselves, but also to each other in a back and forth artistic interchange that lasted nearly fifty years. The conversation in this study is between the language of the artists’ works, rather than a verbal exchange between the two. Instead of literal words to create a dialog, it is a conversation between two different personalities by use of the universally used art elements. With differing backgrounds, their impressions, thus their art varied greatly, even within similar themes.
Matisse and Picasso provide an astonishing artistic interaction that would certainly provide a classroom teacher with motivational dialog and stimulating subject in teaching all four areas of Discipline-Based art education. By helping the students understand the connection between two artists, they can know more about and better understand the importance of each.
Matisse, Henri, 1869-1954 - Criticism and interpretation.
Picasso, Pablo, 1881-1973 - Criticism and interpretation.
Art - Study and teaching.
Hooser, Marisa Jones, "The Language of Art: A Conversation Between Henri Matisse and Pablo Picasso" (2001). Theses, Dissertations and Capstones. 649.