Matisse and PicassoHenri Matisse and Pablo Picasso were two of the twentieth century’s greatest rivals. And yet no two artists inspired each other more. Their paintings and sculpture record a timeless dialogue that even death could not silence.

Click the titles below to read excerpts from conversations with exhibition curator Dr. Yve-Alain Bois, Joseph Pulitzer, Jr. Professor of Modern Art at Harvard University, and Dr. Richard Brettell, Professor of Aesthetic Studies at the University of Texas at Dallas.

The Modernist Mission

KERA: It’s been said that Matisse and Picasso were “modern” artists, artists who worked in the modernist tradition as opposed to the classical or nineteenth century academic tradition. Perhaps we should start by asking, “What does ‘modernism’ mean?”


Learn more about how Matisse felt about his own work, reactions to his artistic strategy and how he was able to achieve the effects of his works on those who saw them.


Learn more about one of Picasso’s most famous works, his use of line and color and how he felt about his own work.

An Artistic Exchange

How did Picasso and Matisse differ in respect to the making of art, what did they respond to in each other’s work and how did they learn from each other?

Rivals or Friends?

Learn how the two artists’ relationship was shaped by others, and changed over the years based on their work and their response to one another.