The Dance (1909-1910): Five dancers strip naked, join hands, and go ring-around-the-
rosy, creating an infectious air of abandon. This large, joyous work was one of Matisse's
personal favorites. It features his Fauvist colors—bright red dancers on a blue-and-green
background. Meanwhile, the undulating lines that join the dancers create a pleasing design
that anticipates modern, abstract art.
Other Matisse works in this room (and the previous one) trace his evolution from a
realistic painter of still lifes to Impressionism to bright Fauvist colors to his semi-abstract
works that pioneer modern abstract art.
• Pass through rooms 346 and 347 to reach rooms 348 and 349, focusing on the works of...
In the year 1900, the 19-year-old Spaniard Pablo Picasso arrived in Paris, the world art
capital. Poor, lonely, and depressed by the suicide of his close friend, he painted other out-
casts of society.
The Absinthe Drinker (1901): A woman sits alone in a grimy café, contemplating her
fate, soothed by a glass of that highly potent and destructive form of alcohol. She leans
on a table, deep in thought, with her distorted right arm wrapped around her protectively.
All of the lines of sight—her unnaturally vertical forearm and the lines on the wall behind
her—converge on her face, boxing her into a corner. The painting shows Picasso's facile
mastery of the earlier generation of Impressionist and Post-Impressionists. It's a snapshot
café scene like Degas, with the flat two-dimensional feel of Gauguin and the emotional ex-
pressiveness of Van Gogh. Notice the signature at top. Though his full Spanish name was