Brandeis Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (BOLLI)

Artful Duos: Famous Liaisons in the History of Art

Course Number


Study Group Leader (SGL)

Suzanne Art


This course will take place virtually on Zoom. Participation requires a device (ideally a computer or tablet, rather than a cell phone) with a camera and microphone in good working order and basic familiarity with using Zoom and accessing email.

10-Week Course

Feb. 27 - May 7. No Class April 23.


Every so often, an artist encounters a kindred spirit and forges a relationship inciting a flurry of creativity for both parties. American painter Mary Cassatt remarked upon seeing the pastels of Edgar Degas that they “changed my life. I saw art as I wanted to see it.” Degas was equally struck by her talent, protesting that such wonderful paintings could not possibly have been “done by a woman!” but later confessing to have found “someone who feels as I do.”  Renowned photographer and art promoter Alfred Stieglitz described a series of abstract charcoal drawings by a young Georgia O’Keeffe as the “purest, finest, sincerest things that had entered [his art gallery] in a long while.” He would later promote her art and inspire her to apply principles of photography to her paintings, and she would teach him a thing or two about Modernism. Mural painter Diego Rivera encouraged Frida Kahlo to paint in the folkloric and indigenous style that characterized his work - they ultimately became the most significant painters in 20th century Mexico.

In this course, we will meet each of these legendary artists and learn about their aesthetic views. We will see how they fit into the art movements of their times. We will then delve into their artistic liaison with a fellow artist and discover the multiple ways each influenced the other and the legacy they left to us. And, on another level, we will explore the complex personal relationships that arose. It wasn’t always smooth sailing!  

Group Leadership Style

Roughly the same amount of lecture and discussion.

Course Materials

All materials will be provided on a class website or by email links.

Preparation Time

Preparation time should be about 1-1/2 hours a week.


Suzanne Art has always loved art, language, and history. Her favorite pastime is experiencing paintings in art museums. She has a BA in history, an MA in the French language and literature, and an MA in teaching. She taught history for 16 years at a private school. During that time, she also wrote a series of twelve history books, a major feature of which is the study of the art of a given culture. She has taught eleven art history courses at BOLLI.