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Wednesday, December 13, 10am – 4pm


Henri Matisse. Standing Figure (detail), 1906. BF84. © 2022 Succession H. Matisse / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

$170; members $153
(one-day workshop)

About the Class

“From the moment I held the box of colors in my hands, I knew this was my life. I threw myself into it like a beast that plunges towards the thing it loves.” ―Henri Matisse

Matisse was enthralled by color and pattern. Color was an expressive life force for the artist, whether it was opaque, transparent, saturated, or subtly nuanced. In this class we will examine how Matisse created a new way of using color—a style that became known as fauvism. We will trace the artist’s experiences of color and light in North Africa and examine his portrayals of beautiful women, exotic locations, textiles, and objects in and around Nice in the 1920s. We’ll also consider The Dance, the ambitious Barnes mural he completed in 1933, as the catalyst for a change in Matisse’s artistic practice, propelling him toward collage and design and culminating in his stained glass work at the Vence Chapel.

The class is online-only. More about online classes.

Barnes classes will:

  • Increase your understanding of art-related concepts.
  • Increase the ways you think critically about art.
  • Improve your ability to communicate about art.
  • Deepen your appreciation for cultures and histories outside your own.

See all classes.


Henri Matisse. Standing Figure, 1906. BF84. © 2022 Succession H. Matisse / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York


Michael Williamson

A member of the Barnes faculty, Williamson studied at Yale University and the Milton Avery Graduate School of Bard College. He taught art history and studio art for nearly 30 years at Germantown Friends School in Philadelphia. Williamson has an active art practice and has shown his paintings locally.

Recent Barnes Class Testimonials

“[The] professor was highly engaging, facilitated excellent discussions, and [was] very knowledgeable. I learned a lot about teaching art history from watching her.” Matisse and Picasso with Martha Lucy

“The instructor [was] very empathetic and knowledgeable [and] created moments of sharing across students who participated actively in discussion.” Art and Literature of the Harlem Renaissance with Michael Williamson

“I am not an artist and prior to this course I had not thought about what an artist might be 'thinking,' as opposed to 'feeling.' I loved this course and plan to immerse myself in color theory.” Visualizing Memory with Lucas Kelly

“The instructor was exceptionally well prepared and challenged us with profound questions. This was a graduate degree caliber course.” The Queer 1890s with Ty Vanover