For Students

Past Exhibitions: 2002

Picasso: Masterworks from the Collection

June 8-September 15, 2002
Museum Apse

Pablo Picasso
Pablo Picasso
Portrait of Francoise, 1949
oil on canvas
Gift of The Carey Walker Foundation

During his artistic career (which lasted more than seventy-five years) Pablo Picasso created thousands of works, not only paintings but also sculptures, prints, and ceramics. First famous for his pioneering role in cubism, he continued to develop his art with a pace and vitality comparable with the accelerated technological and cultural changes of the twentieth century. Each change embodied a radical new idea, and it might be said that Picasso lived several artistic lifetimes.

Picasso: Masterworks from the Collection presents an overview of Picasso's prolific career drawn almost exclusively from the extensive holdings of his works at UMMA. The exhibition features thirty-one pieces, including drawings, prints, and oil paintings dating from 1905 to 1968. The UMMA collection is one of the few university collections, if not the only one, with this kind of depth in its Picasso holdings, and this project will mark the first time such a large body of these works has been shown together at the Museum.


Pablo Picasso
The Bullfight, 1934
oil on canvas
Gift of The Carey Walker Foundation

The thematic sections of the exhibition - the artist and his model, the nude, line and form, abstraction, the figure in motion, interior scenes, the seated female figure, posters, and two works of political protest on the subject of Spanish dictator Francisco Franco - offer an opportunity to examine Picasso's evolving treatment of favorite subjects. Visitors can look forward to glimpsing the artist's many life-long passions, including the spectacle and drama of the bullfight, the erotic and sensual representations of women, and poetic and Arcadian vignettes of his native Mediterranean. In spite of his many "periods," and the many techniques and subjects that he turned to over the decades, there is a certain signature style within this remarkably broad and exciting body of work that is uniquely Picasso.


Pablo Picasso
Two Girls Reading, 1934
oil on canvas
Gift of The Carey Walker Foundation

The wide range of media represented will allow visitors to observe the crossover relationships among the artist's drawings, prints, and paintings. Picasso's longstanding interest in the seated female figure, for example, is represented here first in a pen, ink, and watercolor on paper from 1905. Intimate in scale, spare and simply rendered, it is shown with two paintings from the 1930s, Young Woman with a Mandolin and Two Girls Reading. Although the paintings depart from the earlier work with their distinctive color palettes and stronger, thicker lines, all three works share a fascination with the subject of women engaged in everyday activities and are united in their ability to convey intensity and peaceful contemplation simultaneously.

Picasso's interest in the ability of line and form to create compositions can also be traced throughout the works in this exhibition. Ranging from agitated to sinuous, line for Picasso was a great communicator of meaning. Form, too, held his interest, and he explored how form could be manipulated to betray the underlying structure of the object represented.

Works throughout the exhibition afford the viewer an opportunity to savor the artist's handling of smaller subcategories of subject matter, such as women's hair, musical instruments, a dancer's movement, the contained energy of a horse, the still life elements of interior scenes. Picasso's treatment of even the seemingly mundane or incidental rewards close attention because of his energetic exploration, pushing of boundaries, and consistent drive to get to the essence of the thing observed.

Sean M. Ulmer
University Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art


This exhibition has been made possible by Pfizer and the Friends of the Museum of Art.
Additional support has been provided by Bank One.

 

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