Posts Tagged 'Henri Matisse'

Go van Gogh, Past to Present

Go van Gogh, the DMA’s elementary school outreach program, is celebrating its 35th anniversary this year. Before we pack up the Go van Gogh van and head out to schools across the city, we thought it would be fun to take a look through all thirty-five years of the program.

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1992 Go van Gogh program led by DMA educator Phil Collins

Below are a few fun facts about Go van Gogh through the years.

The first Go van Gogh van was actually a bus!

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First Go van Gogh vehicle, 1978

When the program began at the then Dallas Museum of Fine Arts in Fair Park in 1978, school outreach presentations could be given in classrooms or on the Museum Outreach bus itself.

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DMFA teaching staff member Roberta Mathew conducting an outreach program in the Go van Gogh bus in fall 1979

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DMFA education staffers Susan Geyer and Roberta Mathews conducting an outreach program aboard the Go van Gogh bus in fall 1979

Go van Gogh vans (and buses) have always been easy to spot on the freeway.

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Go van Gogh van in 1981

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Go van Gogh van, c. 1988

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Go van Gogh program, c. 1988

Bright and colorful, Go van Gogh vans often feature artworks from the Museum’s collection in painted or vinyl designs. The Go van Gogh van from the late 1990s included a design from Henri Matisse’s Ivy in Flower.

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Go van Gogh van in the 1990s

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Today’s Go van Gogh van

Go van Gogh programs have always included a visual presentation of artworks from the Museum.

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Go van Gogh program using a slide projector, 1980s or 1990s

Through the years, we’ve made many updates in the technology we use to bring these artworks to life. What began with projectors and large printed posters led to overhead transparencies and laminated images.

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Go van Gogh program with 4th graders at Reilly Elementary School

Later this school year, Go van Gogh will go digital: using iPads and projectors to bring images of artworks to life in the classroom.

Looking ahead to fall, we are excited to unveil a new facet of Go van Gogh outreach–a program designed for Special Education classrooms called Color My World. To learn more about the program, visit our website.

Amy Copeland is the Manager of Go van Gogh and Community Teaching Programs at the DMA.

A Dot That Went for a Walk

Once again, the Works on Paper Gallery on the Museum’s second level is being reinstalled. Fourteen drawings, lithographs, etchings, and engravings by some of the 20th century’s greatest artists—Henri Matisse, Alberto Giacometti, Pablo Picasso, and many more—will adorn the gray walls.

The new installation, titled Linear Possibilities in Modern European Prints, didn’t come together overnight. I’ve been working on it for the last six months, and I am now very excited (even a bit nervous) to present it to the Museum’s public. The idea came to me after looking many times through the Museum’s collection of European works on paper, which includes over 2,000 prints, drawings, and photographs dating from the late 1400s to the 1980s.

Henri Matisse, Loulou, 1914, etching, Dallas Museum of Art, Foundation for the Arts Collection, gift of the Wendover Fund

Henri Matisse, Loulou, 1914, etching, Dallas Museum of Art, Foundation for the Arts Collection, gift of the Wendover Fund, © 2013 Succession H. Matisse / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

I had to work with a few limiting factors before finding my final concept. The three walls of the gallery can only accommodate a certain number of works comfortably, so I had to keep the number within a range of eight to fourteen works. Also, works on paper are very sensitive to natural light. The longer a work is on view, the more damage that occurs, causing the paper to darken and certain media to fade. Therefore, I couldn’t use any work that had recently been on view. I found a few possibilities based on particular themes or artistic movements before choosing to investigate lines, one of art’s most basic elements.

Alberto Giacometti, Annette in the Studio, 1954, lithograph, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Mr. and Mrs. Alfred L. Bromberg

Alberto Giacometti, Annette in the Studio, 1954, lithograph, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Mr. and Mrs. Alfred L. Bromberg, © 2013 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris

The idea was influenced by a great quote from the Swiss artist Paul Klee: “A line is a dot that went for a walk.” Lines appear in many types and sizes: vertical, horizontal, zigzagged, curvy, squiggly, thick, thin, long, short. When combined, lines reveal spaces or forms and allude to volume or mass. They can possess emotive qualities as well as imply movement.

Paul Klee, Hoffmanesque Scene (Hoffmaneske Szene), 1921, color lithograph, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Stuart Gordon Johnson by exchange; General Acquisitions Fund; and The Patsy Lacy Griffith Collection, gift of Patsy Lacy Griffith by exchange

Paul Klee, Hoffmanesque Scene, 1921, color lithograph, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Stuart Gordon Johnson by exchange; General Acquisitions Fund; and The Patsy Lacy Griffith Collection, gift of Patsy Lacy Griffith by exchange, (c) Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn

Pablo Picasso, Three Standing Nudes, at Right, Sketches of Heads (Trois nus debout, à droite esquisses de têtes), 1927, etching, Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas Art Association Purchase

Pablo Picasso, Three Standing Nudes (left) and Sketches of Heads (right), 1927, etching, Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas Art Association Purchase, © 2013 Estate of Pablo Picasso / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

The works in the installation demonstrate how painters and sculptors of the European avant-garde turned to drawing and printmaking in a new manner, creating with nothing but lines. They explored the possibilities of rhythmic or abstracted sequences of delicate, robust, and expressive lines in their compositions of a nude, an artist’s studio, or more abstracted scenes. There is an astonishing beauty to be found in these prints and drawings by Matisse, Giacometti, Picasso, and others. I encourage you to visit the Dallas Museum of Art (general admission is free!) to see these amazing and innovative works.

Linear Possibilities in Modern European Prints goes on view in the European Art Galleries on Level 2 Sunday, March 17.

Hannah Fullgraf is the McDermott Graduate Curatorial Intern in European Art at the DMA.

Picasso and African Art

Our Picasso masterwork Bust is normally considered in the context of early 20th-century modernism. Its home is in the European galleries alongside the works of Picasso’s cohorts like Matisse, Braque, and Léger; however, a recent installation in our European Galleries offers up a new reading of the painting—that it has footings not only in European modernism but also in African art.

Picasso is known to have been captivated by African art. He frequented the Trocadéro, Paris’s famed ethnographic museum, to study its holdings. He was also an avid collector of African objects and amassed over one hundred statuettes, textiles, and masks, all of which he stored in his studio.

Picasso in his studio at the Bateau-Lavoir, Paris, 1908, Musée Picasso, Paris,
Photo Credit: Réunion des Musées Nationaux

Although these so-called “primitive arts” held little monetary value—most were seen as mere trinkets and lined the shelves of curio shops, flea markets, and bistro tablescapes—their alien forms and dramatic abstractions were invaluable inspirations for Picasso. He carefully studied African works, mimicked them, and even openly copied them. He found them to be complex, conceptually sophisticated, and emotionally charged because their abstractions expressed the “unseen” and “unuterrable” in visual and quantifiable terms. Throughout his career, Picasso struggled with trying to represent the unknown or unrepresentable, and African abstract forms gave him a clear visual language to express what he couldn’t before.

In the case of our painting Bust, he appears to have lifted the entire compositional makeup of a kifwebe mask and translated it into a two-dimensional painted form:

Pablo Picasso, “Bust,” 1907-08, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, Foundation for the Arts Collection, gift of Joshua L. Logan, Loula D. Lasker, Ruth and Nathan Cummings Art Foundation, Mr. and Mrs. Edward S. Marcus, Sarah Dorsey Hudson, Mrs. Alfred L. Bromberg, Henry Jacobus and an anonymous donor, by exchange, 1987.399.FA, © Estate of Pablo Picasso / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Democratic Republic of the Congo, Songye or Luba Peoples, Helmet mask (“kifwebe”) and costume, late 19th to early 20th century, wood, paint, fiber, cane, and gut, Dallas Museum of Art, The Gustave and Franyo Schindler Collection of African Sculpture, gift of the McDermott Foundation in honor of Eugene McDermott, 1974.Sc.42

The stylistic resonances between the two works are truly striking. Both have the same facial configuration—a convex forehead contrasted by a concave facial plane—and the same facial features, from the almond-shaped downcast eyes, to the broad band bisecting the foreheads, to the fine-lined surface relief.

Through painting a female subject in the likeness of an abstract kifwebe mask, Picasso saw himself as able to visually articulate the invisible aspects of her nature—a feat not possible through a mere depiction of a human form. Moreover, he saw this abstract representation as a “real” representation of a person; for him, reality was something beyond our eyes, so representing someone’s internalized and invisible nature meant he was representing who someone really is. Through abstraction, Picasso was able to make the female figure’s spirit not only visible but real, living, and tangible; through African art, Picasso was able to eclipse old modes of representation and was, in his words, “freed.”


Andrew Sears is the McDermott Curatorial Intern for European and American Art at the Dallas Museum of Art.


Seldom Scene’s Seldom Seen

Rarely on view, Henri Matisse’s Ivy in Flower—a full-scale maquette for a stained glass window made late in the artist’s career—will be installed for six months in the Concourse. Here are some photos from the large cutout’s installation.

Henri Matisse, Ivy in Flower, 1953, colored paper, watercolor, pencil, and brown paper tape on paper mounted on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, Foundation for the Arts Collection, gift of the Albert and Mary Lasker Foundation


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