Sunday, August 07, 2011

Picasso at the de Young

Picasso at the deYoungLast week I saw the big Picasso show at the de Young Museum. It's a large selection of works from the Musée National Picasso in Paris, which is currently being renovated. The exhibit contains paintings, sculptures & prints & displays Picasso's prodigious output & stylistic range. The Death of Casagemas (1901) demonstrates that by the age of 20 Picasso could paint like Van Gogh. Other works show him successfully appropriating the styles of Ingres, Delacoix, Matisse & Manet. We also see stylistic experiments that seem less successful, such as bathers with strange, geometric anatomy or surreal figures that look like balloon animals gone wrong.

There are examples of all Picasso's signature imagery: Blue Period, Rose Period, Cubist, neo-classical, crying women, self-portraits, sexually overripe nudes, etc. Sketches for Guernica & Demoiselles d'Avignon appear too, but I felt like the show often touched on iconic masterpieces without displaying any. I instead enjoyed discovering unfamiliar but delightful images, such as the child-like Cat Catching a Bird (1939).

Besides identification tags & a few Picasso quotes high up on the walls, there is no explanatory text in the galleries. This is a stipulation of the lending museum, which does not want anything to distract viewers from the art. An audio tour is available, though. I visited on a weekday morning, & the galleries were jammed with older tourists & children. The corridor outside the gallery has a nice ancillary display of photographs of Picasso, his family & friends.

§ Picasso: Masterpieces from the Musée National Picasso, Paris
The de Young Museum
June 11, 2011 - October 10, 2011

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