Picasso, Matisse & Modern Art Tour - National Gallery of Art

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Picasso, Matisse & Modern Art Tour - National Gallery of Art
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Sun 23 February 2020
Sunday 23 February 2020
3:30 PM - 5:30 PM


Picasso, Matisse & Modern Art Tour - National Gallery of Art


Friends and rivals Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse are two of the most famous and influential figures in the history of Western art.

Our program at the National Gallery of Art will cover the fascinating lives of both Picasso & Matisse, what made their artwork so unique, and why they became so popular.

In Washington, DC we’re fortunate that the NGA permanent collection holds several dozen works by Picasso & Matisse, with a combined 25-30 paintings and sculptures from the two artists on display at any given time.

Therefore, our guided tour is a great opportunity to see their works up-close and in-person, without having to visit a special/temporary exhibition.

During our prgram we’ll also compare and contrast Picasso & Matisse with other artists in the NGA's Modern Art collection including Edward Hopper, Georgia O’Keeffe, Alexander Calder, Jackson Pollock, Andy Warhol, etc.

Your host for this program is Robert Kelleman, an art history major who started his career at the Detroit Institute of Arts and the Founder / Director of the non-profit community organization Washington, DC History & Culture.

Group discussion and participation is welcomed..









Henri Matisse (French: 1869 - 1954) was a French artist, known for both his use of color and his fluid and original draughtsmanship. He was a draughtsman, printmaker, and sculptor, but is known primarily as a painter. Matisse is commonly regarded, along with Pablo Picasso, as one of the artists who best helped to define the revolutionary developments in the visual arts throughout the opening decades of the twentieth century, responsible for significant developments in painting and sculpture.

The intense colorism of the works he painted between 1900 and 1905 brought him notoriety as one of the Fauves (wild beasts). Many of his finest works were created in the decade or so after 1906, when he developed a rigorous style that emphasized flattened forms and decorative pattern. In 1917, he relocated to a suburb of Nice on the French Riviera, and the more relaxed style of his work during the 1920s gained him critical acclaim as an upholder of the classical tradition in French painting. After 1930, he adopted a bolder simplification of form. When ill health in his final years prevented him from painting, he created an important body of work in the medium of cut paper collage.

His mastery of the expressive language of color and drawing, displayed in a body of work spanning over a half-century, won him recognition as a leading figure in modern art.


National Gallery of Art Link:



Wikipedia Link:








Pablo Picasso (Spanish: 1881 - 1973) was a Spanish painter, sculptor, printmaker, ceramicist, stage designer, poet and playwright who spent most of his adult life in France. Regarded as one of the most influential artists of the 20th century, he is known for co-founding the Cubist movement, the invention of constructed sculpture, the co-invention of collage, and for the wide variety of styles that he helped develop and explore. Among his most famous works are the proto-Cubist Les Demoiselles d'Avignon (1907), and Guernica (1937), a dramatic portrayal of the bombing of Guernica by the German and Italian airforces during the Spanish Civil War.

Picasso demonstrated extraordinary artistic talent in his early years, painting in a naturalistic manner through his childhood and adolescence. During the first decade of the 20th century, his style changed as he experimented with different theories, techniques, and ideas. After 1906, the Fauvist work of the slightly older artist Henri Matisse motivated Picasso to explore more radical styles, beginning a fruitful rivalry between the two artists, who subsequently were often paired by critics as the leaders of modern art.

Picasso's work is often categorized into periods. While the names of many of his later periods are debated, the most commonly accepted periods in his work are the Blue Period (1901–1904), the Rose Period (1904–1906), the African-influenced Period (1907–1909), Analytic Cubism (1909–1912), and Synthetic Cubism (1912–1919), also referred to as the Crystal period. Much of Picasso's work of the late 1910s and early 1920s is in a neoclassical style, and his work in the mid-1920s often has characteristics of Surrealism. His later work often combines elements of his earlier styles.

Exceptionally prolific throughout the course of his long life, Picasso achieved universal renown and immense fortune for his revolutionary artistic accomplishments, and became one of the best-known figures in 20th-century art.


National Gallery of Art Link:



Wikipedia Link:




Pre-Tour Homework - Picasso by National Geographic - Optional : )

National Geographic’s 10-part global event series GENIUS returns to explore the turbulent life of the 20th century’s most controversial artist, Pablo Picasso (Antonio Banderas). A child prodigy, Picasso was not satisfied imitating the masters. He set out to create his own style and in doing so changed art forever. GENIUS: PICASSO explores the muses, the art, and the complicated man behind the masterpieces.



Registration: As this is a limited space event (and to reduce “no shows”) there is a $10.00 per person registration-in-advance fee / donation to attend, with proceeds supporting our Washington, DC History & Culture non-profit community programs. Full refund if the event is cancelled or if you change your RSVP to “no” at least 48 hours beforehand.  

Please note, a few of the art works we will be viewing include nudity - use your discretion when bringing children.

You do not need to bring your ticket/confirmation with you. Upon arrival we’ll just check your name off our RSVP list.


Weather: This program is indoors and will thus take place rain or shine.


Meeting Point: 3:30 pm sharp inside of the 4th Street NW lobby entrance of the National Gallery of Art’s East Building (not the west / main building), which is between Pennsylvania Avenue and Madison Drive. The East Building houses the works of Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso, and other modern artists. Look for a group of friendly people, and your host Robert, wearing a cream-colored scarf. We’ll be in the lobby area for just a few minutes before proceeding on our tour.  If you arrive late our first stop will be the "French Painting: 1890-1940" galleries on the ground floor and then we'll head upstairs.


Additional Questions: Anything that can’t be answered by the above event description, Google, or common sense please let us know.



This program is presented by the non-profit community organization Washington, DC History & Culture:

bringing people together to experience the history and culture of Washington, DC.”


For more entertaining and educational programs visit us at:








We look forward to seeing you - thanks!


Robert Kelleman

Washington, DC History & Culture


202-821-6325 (text only)



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