Modern and Contemporary European and American Art
John Klein joined the faculty as associate professor after teaching at University of Missouri-Columbia since 1992. He brings several areas of expertise to the department's offerings in modern and contemporary art, through courses in modern sculpture, Dada and Surrealism, the history and theory of the art museum, modern decoration and decorative arts, portraiture from antiquity to the present, and modern art theory and criticism, among others. He is an internationally known specialist in the art of Henri Matisse. In addition to his book Matisse Portraits (Yale 2001), he has published many articles and book chapters on the artist, most recently a study of the intersection of portraiture and decoration in Matisse's work for the catalogue of an exhibition at the Staatsgalerie Stuttgart and the Bucerius Kunst Forum, Hamburg. The subjects of other recent articles include painting in series from Impressionism to Pop Art, the Fauve portraits of Kees Van Dongen, masking strategies in modern portraiture, and interviews with the Dutch artist Michael Berkhemer published in Saint Louis and Amsterdam. Klein is currently writing the book Matisse's Late Decorations and the Essential Quality of Art, a comprehensive analysis of the concept of decoration in Matisse's art, focusing on his commissions for work in ceramic tile, stained glass, tapestry and other fabrics, and decorative objects and paintings during the last twenty years of his career.
RECENTLY TAUGHT COURSES, CONFERENCE PAPERS, AND LECTURES
Courses taught recently
• Introduction to Modern Art
• Modern Sculpture, Canova to Koons
• From the Irrational to the Marvelous: Dada and Surrealism in Europe and the U.S. (co-taught with Stamos Metzidakis, French)
• The Art Museum: History, Theory, Design (co-taught with Eric Mumford, Graduate School of Architecture and Urban Design)
• Critical Studies in Portraiture, Ancient to Contemporary
• Formalism and its Discontents
• The Decorative Aesthetic in Modernism, 1860-1960
• Rethinking Matisse
• Theories of Modern Art and Architecture (Spring 2009; co-taught with Eric Mumford)
Recent Conference Papers, Lectures, and Other Presentations
Interview on Matisse's paper cut-outs with Tyler Green for the podcast Modern Art Notes, in conjunction with the exhibition on the subject at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, November 2014.
Photographic Narratives of the Colonial Endgame in Tahiti: Matisse, Murnau, Parry,” French Colonial Historical Society Conference, San Francisco, May 2009.
“Sensation: The Symbolist Contribution to Matisse’s Decorative Aesthetic,” in conference “The Symbolist Movement: Its Origins and Consequences,” University of Illinois, April 2009.
“From Demimonde to Beau Monde: The Arc of Van Dongen’s Portraiture,” Museum of Fine Arts, Montréal, Canada, January 2009.
“Repartir à un: Matisse back to square 1 in a game with new players,” in conference “Starting From Scratch: Art and Culture in Europe and America, 1945-1949,” Musée des Beaux-Arts, Lyon, France, January 2009.
“The Problem of Sculpture in Abstract Expressionism” (gallery talk), Saint Louis Art Museum, October 2008.
“Matisse, Picasso and Beyond: How Portraiture Survived Modernism,” Hascoe Lecture, Bruce Museum, Greenwich, Connecticut, October 2008.
“Can There be a Decorative Portrait?” colloquium in preparation for exhibition Matisse: Menschen, Masken, Modelle(Staatsgalerie, Stuttgart and Bucerius Kunst Forum, Hamburg, 2008-9), Universität Hamburg, March 2008.
Invited respondent, symposium “Déjà-vu? Revealing Repetition in French Masterpieces,” Walters Art Museum, Baltimore, October 2007.
Invited session moderator, scholars’ day for The Repeating Image in French Painting from David to Matisse, exhibition at the Walters Art Museum, Baltimore, October 2007.
“The Art Museum as a Global Phenomenon: Bilbao and Beyond,” Museum of Art and Archaeology, Columbia, Missouri, October 2007.
“Chuck Close and Tradition,” symposium for Portrait/Homage/Embodiment, Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts, Saint Louis, June 2007.
“Identity and Alterity in the Modern Portrait,” symposium on modern portraiture, Kimbell Art Museum, Fort Worth, June 2007.
“Object or Design? Aesthetic Mobility in Matisse’s Paper Cut-Outs,” in The Challenge of the Object / Die Herausforderung des Objekts, Conference Proceedings of the 33rd International Congress of the History of Art (Nuremberg 2012), ed. G. Ulrich Grossman and Petra Krutisch, Nuremberg, Germanisches Nationalmuseum, 2013, pp. 728-29.
“The Inner Circles of Fauve Portraiture,” in Henri Matisse and the Fauves, ed. Heinz Widauer and Claudine Grammont, Vienna, Albertina Museum, 2013, pp. 284-91.
“Sensation: The Symbolist Contribution to Matisse’s Decorative Aesthetic,” in The Symbolist Movement: Its Origins and Consequences, ed. Rosina Neginsky, Newcastle, Eng., Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2011, pp. 581-91.
“Artiste, modèle, miroir, plume: dessins 1935-1937” (Artist, Model, Mirror, Pen: Drawings 1935-1937), in Lydia Delectorskaya, muse et modèle de Matisse, ed. Dominique Szymusiak, Marie-Thérèse Pulvenis de Seligny and Wanda de Guébriant, Musée Départemental Matisse, Le Cateau-Cambrésis and Musée Matisse, Nice, 2010, pp. 102-13.
“Conflicting Harmonies: Portrait vs. Decoration,” in Matisse: Menschen, Masken, Modelle, Staatsgalerie Stuttgart and Bucerius Kunst Forum, Hamburg, 2008, pp. 36-45.
“Van Dongen, Postmodern Fauve,” in Kees Van Dongen, ed. Jean-Michel Bouhours and Nathalie Bondil. Nouveau Musée National de Monaco, Monte-Carlo; Musée des Beaux-Arts/Museum of Fine Arts, Montréal; Museu Picasso, Barcelona, 2008, pp. 211-15.
Interview with Dutch artist Michael Berkhemer for Michael Berkhemer Retrospective, ed. Cornelia Homburg, Wanders Publishers, Zwolle, 2008, pp. 93-117 (note: this is an entirely different interview from that in 2007).
“Inventing Mediterranean Harmony in Matisse’s Paper Cut-Outs,” in Modern Art and the Idea of the Mediterranean, ed. Vojtech Jirat-Wasiutynski, University of Toronto Press, 2007, pp. 146-60.
“The Mask as Image and Strategy,” in The Mirror and the Mask: Portraiture in the Age of Picasso, ed. Paloma Alarcó and Malcolm Warner, New Haven, Yale University Press, 2007, pp. 25-35.
Interview with Michael Berkhemer for “I am not a printmaker, I am a painter who makes prints.” Michael Berkhemer, Wildwood Press, Saint Louis, 2007, pp. 6-7.
“Degree Zero of Self-Portraiture: Matisse’s Self-Portrait in a Striped Jersey, 1906,” in Matisse Masterpieces at Statens Museum for Kunst, ed. Dorthe Aagesen, Statens Museum for Kunst, Copenhagen, Denmark, 2005, pp. 67-86.
“Paradoxe du portrait fauve,” in Matisse-Derain: Collioure 1905, un été fauve, ed. Joséphine Matamoros and Dominique Szymusiak, Paris, Gallimard, 2005, pp. 48-53, 291.
Seven essays on paintings and sculptures by Henri Matisse, Amedeo Modigliani, Marc Chagall, Pablo Picasso, and Piet Mondrian for Handbook of the St. Louis Art Museum, 2004, pp. 250-51, 265-66, 269, 277, 282.
“L’Héritage de Gauguin, ou l’art de relativiser l’idéal primitiviste,” in Actes du Colloque: Paul Gauguin, héritage et confrontations,” ed. Riccardo Pineri, L’Université de la Polynésie Française and Editions le Motu, Papeete, Tahiti, 2003, pp. 112-22.
“Objects of Desire and Irresistible Forces: Matisse Between Patrons, Collectors and War,” introduction to Henri Matisse: Four Great Collectors, ed. Kasper Monrad, Statens Museum for Kunst, Copenhagen, Denmark, 1999, pp. 11-23.
“Matisse après Tahiti, la maturation d’une expérience exotique,” in Matisse et l’Océanie: le voyage à Tahiti, ed. Dominique Szymusiak, Musée Matisse, Le Cateau-Cambrésis, France, 1998, pp. 179-220.
“The Dispersal of the Modernist Series,” Oxford Art Journal 21, no. 1 (1998), pp. 121-35.