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20th-Century European Art


Among the collections of the National Gallery of Art are outstanding paintings and sculpture by 20th-century European artists Henri Rousseau, Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso, and Henry Moore. These five documentary programs were produced in conjunction with exhibitions organized by the Gallery. Each program incorporates biographical information, in-depth looks at individual works of art, archival photographs, and interviews with curators and scholars. This film is available to be licensed to affiliates.

The 20th-Century European Art DVD compilation includes the following titles:

  • Henri Rousseau: Jungles in Paris
    The self-taught Rousseau was rejected by traditionalists but championed by avant-garde artists and writers including Picasso. Rousseau is best known for his jungle landscapes that depict a world both seductive and terrifying. The film considers them in the context of France's fascination with the exotic during the nation's colonial expansion in the late 19th century. It features archival film and photographs as well as present-day footage of the Parisian parks, zoos, and greenhouses that fueled Rousseau's imagination.
    30 minutes
  • Matisse in Nice
    Changes occurred in Hneri Matisse's paintings during his years in Nice, on the French Riviera. His response to the light and color of the Mediterranean is seen not only in his sun-drenched landscapes but also in his paintings of voluptuous nudes in richly patterned interiors.
    28 minutes
  • Picasso: The Saltimbanques
    Itinerant performers, or saltimbanques, figure in many of Pablo Picasso's works, particularly those of the Rose period. This film evokes a sense of the atmosphere that inspired the artist and traces the process through which curators and conservators discovered earlier compositions—thought to have been lost—beneath the surface of Picasso's painting Family of Saltimbanques.
    29 minutes
  • Picasso and the Circus
    A young girl strolls through the exhibition Picasso: The Saltimbanques. As she gazes at Picasso's pictures of jugglers, bareback riders, harlequins, and clowns, the images before her give way to scenes of a Parisian circus of the kind Picasso attended.
    7 minutes
  • Henry Moore: A Life in Sculpture
    Henry Moore's long journey from a 19th-century coal-mining town in the north of England to the center stage of the 20th-century art world was driven by talent, vision, and ambition. He fused ideas from non-European cultures, surrealism, and nature into unique sculptural works that made their way into galleries and private collections around the world. This program traces Moore's career through footage of the artist at work, views of his sculptures and drawings, and interviews with colleagues Anthony Caro and Bruce Nauman, critics, and curators.
    25 minutes

All programs are closed captioned.

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