Cézanne, van Gogh, and Matisse in the South of France

Date: Thursday, May 27, 2021 Time: 2:00 pm-3:30 pm Location: via Zoom  Fee: $45 in advance


Pamela Morton

Artist and Teacher

Cézanne, van Gogh, and Matisse were major innovators in the development of modern art. All three spent significant time in the south of France where they found inspiration in the dramatic light and bold landscapes of Provence and the Riviera. In a series of video lectures, we will trace the lives and careers of these artists as they explored new directions in their work, moving away from conventional modes of representation toward a new art of powerful expression and daring abstraction. In the first lecture, we will see how Cézanne’s encounter with the clear light of the south led him to reject the soft textures and amorphous forms of impressionism for firmly constructed compositions of geometric shapes and volumes. We will also see how van Gogh and Matisse, both northerners, worked to strengthen and heighten their color palettes in response to what they perceived as a luxurious, exotic south of warm climes, sunny skies, and verdant landscapes. Van Gogh turned to contrasting complementary pairings like orange and blue to convey the brilliance and intensity of southern heat and light. Following van Gogh’s lead, Matisse went a step further -- with the volume turned up, his canvases are wild explosions of hot, vivid, unnatural color. Matisse stated, ‘When I paint green, it doesn’t mean grass. When I paint blue, it doesn’t mean sky.’

This three-session lecture series will meet on Thursdays, May 27, June 3 & 10. The $45 registration covers all three sessions.

Pamela Morton is an artist and university teacher who has been living and working in the south of France for over thirty years. An expert on Provence and the artists of the south, she has organized and led museum and site visits for cultural organizations and college students. She lectures on Picasso and Matisse, as well as  on Cezanne and van Gogh. She has also taught painting and drawing along with 19th and 20th century art history courses for study abroad programs in Aix and Marseille. With a background that includes art restoration and museum education, Pamela brings special insight to her understanding of artistic works and their settings, both in time and place. Like the artists she studies and admires, Pamela finds inspiration for her own work in the bold light and landscapes of the south of France.