matisse: voyage and vision in the life of matisse
19 Apr 2015

Matisse’s Oasis comes to life in this cinematic journey at EYE. Experience the landscapes of Algeria, Morocco, and Tahiti as Matisse saw them on his travels, and which served as a source of inspiration for the works in the exhibition. 

EYE Film Institute, room 2
7:15 - 9 pm
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The Stedelijk Museum and the EYE Film Institute are proud to present a program of films in the context of the exhibition The Oasis of Matisse (March 26 – August 16, 2015, Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam). The artworks and travels of the great French impressionist Henri Matisse are described by Roger Benjamin (professor of art history at the University of Sydney) and accompanied by early films about his destinations of Algeria, Morocco, and Tahiti. 

For this evening Professor Benjamin has selected some special film material by the Lumière brothers: Biskra, Noce Arab (35mm, 1906, collection: Lumière brothers) and Ramasseurs des Sous (35mm, 1906, collection: Lumière brothers). In 1906, Matisse visited the Batna, Biskra, and Sidi Okba areas in Algeria, and the film material shows this environment as the French painter must have seen it with his own eyes at the time. Matisse’s most important destinations will also be discussed by Benjamin with reference to impressive works in the exhibition, including the monumental paper cut-out work The Parakeet and the Mermaid (1952-53, collection: Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam). In addition, there is some original film material from the time of his travels, such as Au Maroc: Tanger (In Morocco, Tangiers) (35mm, 1908 collection: EYE film museum). The silent films are accompanied by piano music from the early twentieth century, wholly in the style of the period, performed by Nora Mulder.


Roger Benjamin is an Australian art historian who trained in Melbourne and Philadelphia.  His specialist fields are the history of French Orientalist painting, contemporary Aboriginal art, and Matisse studies.  His work on the latter includes Matisse’s ‘Notes of a Painter’ (Ann Arbor, 1985), The Retrospective Matisse (Brisbane, 1995), and numerous journal articles. In 1997 he curated Orientalism: Delacroix to Klee (Art Gallery of NSW).  He has published Orientalist Aesthetics: Art, Colonialism and French North Africa, 1880-1930 (Berkeley, 2003), Renoir and Algeria (New Haven, 2003) and Icons of the Desert: Early Aboriginal Painting from Papunya (Ithaca, 2009). Roger Benjamin is Professor in the History of Art at the University of Sydney, where he holds the Australian Research Council’s DORA Fellowship (2013-2016). His book Kandinsky and Klee in Tunisia will be published by the University of California Press in August 2015.