Online since 2004.  This page last updated Mar 2018

Upper School Visual Arts Department

Here you can learn about some of the recent museum trips, special projects and exhibition outings that have been sponsored by the Upper School Visual Arts Department recently, as well as look at slide shows of our students engaging in projects and activities that enhance their education in art beyond what is outlined in our curriculum.


IB First and Second Year students spend a day with Matisse and Bonnard

Each October, the IB Diploma Visual Arts students get a day off schedule  to learn about art outside the studio, and visit one of the world-class museums in Frankfurt for an up-close look at some of humanity's greatest works of art.  This year, Mr Trebel and Ms Russo Scherr accompanied 15 students as they toured the incredible Matisse and Bonnard: Vive le Peinture! exhibition at the Staedel Museum in central Frankfurt.  The candidates saw some spectacular photos of both French masters in their respective villas near Nice, read countless letters and postcards they sent to each other and viewed over a hundred works of interiors, landscapes and still-lifes that each of them completed during their remarkable 30-year friendship and collaboration. The students photographed, sketched and made notes of all of their reactions as they proceeded through the exhibit.  Following their tour of this insightful show, and motivated by the development and visionary use of paint they saw there, all of the IB Visual Arts candidates returned to the FIS studios to try their hand at their own, Matisse- or Bonnard-inspired oil color interiors, with an eye toward catching light, line and color in ways that evoked the two French masters.

Mock Exams for the IB Visual Arts course: senior students undergo a critical appraisal of their progress to date in last weeks of November

Our second year IB Diploma students underwent their mock exams in Visual Arts over the course of two days, 20-21 November 2017.  This year's exams followed a similar format to those administered last year at the same time, focusing intensely on the three components that now consist of a candidate's complete output. The second-year students were asked to present their selected exhibition and to account for the way it was displayed with a prepared curatorial rationale, just as they will have to present in May.  Ms Russo Scherr and her younger IB1 (first-year) students were on hand to question and comment upon the IB2 presentations and make recommendations for their continued improvement based upon careful reflection on the main exhibition and process portfolio criteria for assessment.  The examinees were able to walk away from their mocks with a comprehensive report on their achievement to date and (even more importantly) a fuller understanding of what they have done well, what they need to do to in order to achieve better results and what they might aim for to access the very highest results possible.  We will continue to develop our approach to mock exams for the IB Diploma program with an eye toward refining the experience for our candidates, giving them the very best feedback for their paths to success.  For now, the process is one that continues to evolve with the aim of providing the most accurate picture of where our candidates stand at this critical point in their IB career and what exactly they need to do to refine and improve their work.

Left:  A grade 12 FIS Visual Arts candidate defends her work during the Mock Exams in Visual Arts, administered to the second year Diploma students in late November.  All Grade 12 candidates must undergo this critical evaluation to ensure a more comprehensive review of their work and a better results in the spring when their total efforts are submitted to the IBO.

The Historical Portrait Project


In the mid-1990's students at FIS collaborated with students at the International School of Dusseldorf and their art instructor, Mr Richard Caston, on a project that was truly ambitious.  Called "2000 Years of Mankind" the project invited students from five international schools from France, Luxembourg and Germany to submit full length portraits of famous figures from history.  The seventy-some images that resulted were exhibited together  at the 1998 ECIS Conference in the Convention Center in Nice, France and then permanently installed in the halls of the school in Dusseldorf, where they can still be seen. Mr Trebel revived the project in the halls of FIS five years ago and the painting of historical figures who contributed positively to the course of human history goes on in our studios and corridors.


Students in Mr Trebel's and Ms Hirao's IB art classes have continued the tradition of undertaking this enormous creative challenge - to complete a life-sized portrait of their favorite figure from history. The 80 x 200 cm paintings and/or life sized ceramic busts have been completed by candidates in the most recent four graduating classes, 2013 to 2017 and all of these images have been kept on permanent display in the halls of the Da Vinci wing on the Main Campus of FIS.  Their quality and workmanship speak volumes about the high expectations we have here in art.


Students have to research their subject thoroughly, develop their own image of them that successfully conveys a convincing likeness, and write up a 300-word statement detailing their contributions to history. The finished works are displayed in order to teach, inspire and entertain the rest of our school community. So far, 48 finished portraits have been completed this year, with an additional 8-10 every year to be added by each successive IB Year 1 class.  The halls of FIS come to life as a living history book, with lessons on greatness on display wherever you look.  For more on this extraordinary and ongoing exposition, please see the Historical Portraits gallery on our Student Work page here.

IB Diploma Level Exhibition Posters

Every year, the Visual Arts Department showcases the works of its best and brightest IB Diploma candidates, celebrating their completion of the program and unofficially marking the opening of the May IB exams in all subjects.  Historically, the exhibition of their work has most often occurred in the third week of March, usually just before Spring Break and features a climactic opening ceremony, which we have always referred to as the "IB Vernissage."  In 2004, the art department began to generate annual posters advertising the opening of the exhibition which featured a group image of the artists involved, with various approaches to the image being the theme of each year's poster.  The posters have become a tradition that we are happy to carry on into the future and each year's image has become synonymous with that year's graduating class.  Click here to download the past 14 years' IB Vernissage posters.


A world of opportunities

Made with Adobe Muse