Matisse Picasso

Feb 13–May 19, 2003


Pablo Picasso. Self-Portrait with Palette. 1906. Oil on canvas. 36 1/4 × 28 3/4″ (92 × 73 cm). Philadelphia Museum of Art: The A.E. Gallatin Collection, 1950. © 2003 Estate of Pablo Picasso/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Matisse Picasso is the first exhibition dedicated to the lifelong dialogue between two of the most important artists of the twentieth century. Struck by each other’s genius since they met in 1906, each recognized the other to be his only true rival and measure of his success. Matisse Picasso tells the compelling story of two artists who, by looking at and learning from one another for nearly half a century, were driven to ever higher levels of accomplishment, and despite their personal differences, were closer in spirit than any other two artists of that time.

Years in the making, this exhibition is the result of a unique collaboration between The Museum of Modern Art, New York; Tate, London; Musée Picasso and Musée National d’Art Moderne, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris. It brings together masterpieces from major international public and private collections that rarely travel. These works have never been seen together and probably never will be again. Extraordinary in its scope and ambition, Matisse Picasso not only confirms the artists’ status as giants of their time but also offers previously unexplored insights into the complex personal and artistic relationship that defined the standards for painting in the twentieth century.

This exhibition is a collaboration between The Museum of Modern Art, New York; Tate Modern, London; and the Runion des Musées Nationaux/Musée Picasso, Musée National d’Art Moderne/Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris. It was organized by John Elderfield, Chief Curator, Department of Painting and Sculpture, The Museum of Modern Art, New York; Kirk Varnedoe, Professor of the History of Art, School of Historical Studies, Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton; John Golding, Painter and Art Historian, London; Elizabeth Cowling, Senior Lecturer, Department of Fine Art, University of Edinburgh; Anne Baldassari, Curator, Musée Picasso, Paris; Isabelle Monod-Fontaine, Deputy Director, Musée Nationale d’Art Moderne, Paris.

The exhibition and its accompanying publication and education programs are sponsored by Merrill Lynch.

A major grant is also provided by The Starr Foundation.

An indemnity for the exhibition has been granted by the Federal Council on the Arts and the Humanities.

Additional funding is provided by Monique M. Schoen Warshaw.


  • Looking at Matisse and Picasso Paperback, 72 pages
  • Matisse Picasso Exhibition catalogue, Hardcover, 400 pages
  • Matisse Picasso Exhibition catalogue, Paperback, 400 pages
  • Press release 6 pages


Installation images

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