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8 Picasso Masterpieces from the Upcoming Grand Show in Paris

  • Sunami Soichi - Oil on canvas The Dance
August 11, 2018
Balasz Takac is alias of Vladimir Bjelicic who is actively engaged in art criticism, curatorial and artistic practice.

Modernism was an amazing historical period. Despite various social and political upheavals, the art production during the interwar period blossomed. One of the most celebrated artists from that period is certainly Pablo Picasso. An extraordinary body of work of this genuine innovator was interpreted through various studies, appeared in popular culture and influenced various movements, so looking from a contemporary perspective it is not strange that he became an icon.

A large number of Picasso masterpieces are scattered around the globe and were exhibited in various formats. Nevertheless, for a very long time all of the major works were not seen together physically, so the Musée national Picasso decided to present a large number of them, some of which will be shown for the very first time in Paris, in a form of an exhibition titled simply Picasso. Masterpieces!.

The exceptional efforts were made to gather these loans in order to establish a new form of dialog with the wider public. As a matter of fact, the institution devoted to Picasso tends to offer a refreshed interpretation of the great artist’s work by focusing on past exhibitions, reviews, and texts.

This exciting showcase at the Musée national Picasso in Paris will open on 4 September 2018 and will last until 13 January 2019.

Here is our selection of Picasso masterpieces which embody the best his immense talent, his fears and fascinations, cravings and ideology.

Featured image: Sunami Soichi – The Dance, Oil on canvas at the exhibition Picasso: his graphic art, MoMA, New York, in 1952. Undated print. Gelatin-silver print, 18.3 x 23.4 cm. National Museum Picasso-Paris, Don Picasso Succession, 1992 © Picasso Succession 2018. All images courtesy Musee Picasso Paris.

  • Pablo Picasso - Science et charite

Science et Charite

This particular painting dates from 1897 and is one of the rare early pieces Pablo Picasso kept for himself during his lifetime.

While still a student, he decided to produce a trendy work – a popular theme of visiting the ill at art. By combining the images from his daily life with academic models, he created a staggering scene. Interestingly so, Picasso’s father modeled as the doctor, while the whole composition commemorates the death of his younger sister Conchita in 1895.

Science et Charité was critically well received and the artist even got a gold medal at the Provincial Exhibition of Malaga.

Featured image: Pablo Picasso – Science et Charité, 1897. Oil on canvas, 197 x 249.5 centimeters. Picasso Museum, Barcelona, Donation Pablo Picasso, 1970 © Picasso Succession 2018

  • Pablo Picasso - Les demoiselles d'Avignon

Les Demoiselles d'Avignon

Les Demoiselles d’Avignon was perhaps the most controversial Pablo Picasso masterpiece. This revolutionary painting has triggered a completely different take on the painterly surface – it was a crucial work which embodies ideas of Cubism as an art movement.

In 1924, André Breton recommended Jacques Doucet to buy this work, but after the designer’s death, the work returned to the art market. Finally, the New York Museum of Modern Art bought the painting for the collection in 1939.

Unfortunately, Les Demoiselles d’Avignon no longer travels, but Picasso kept many studies for the painting which today shed light on the genesis of the work and they are going to be shown at the Musée national Picasso-Paris.

Featured image: Jacqueline of Baume-Dürrbach (after Pablo Picasso) – Les Demoiselles d’Avignon, 1958. Yarn of wool, 272 x 206 cm. Fundación Almine and Bernard Ruiz-Picasso para el arte © Picasso Succession 2018

  • Pablo Picasso - Arlequin au miroir
  • Pablo Picasso - Arlequin assis
  • Pablo Picasso - Le peintre Salvado en arlequin

Les Arlequins

The Harlequin figure is considered to be practically Pablo Picasso’s doppelganger e.g. alter-ego and is often present in his work.

This peculiar character is displayed in a classical manner of portraiture, and the artist was quite influenced by the harlequins painted by Spanish painter Jacinto Salvadó. Through these several works, the model is always shown wearing the same costume and almost the same posture in a state of deep melancholy; these motifs are repeated and reworked throughout the series.

Interestingly so, during the mid-1960s this theme was rather popular among the art dealers which led the city of Basel to purchase Arlequin assis.

Featured images: Pablo Picasso – Arlequin au miroir, 1923. Oil on canvas, 100 x 81 cm. National Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum, Madrid. © Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza / Scala, Florence © Picasso Succession 2018; Pablo Picasso – Arlequin assis,1923. Oil on canvas, 130.2 x 97.1 centimeters. Kunstmusuem Basel, Permanent Deposit of the City of Basel, 1967. Photo of Martin P. Bühler © Picasso Succession 2018; Pablo Picasso – Le peintre Salvado en arlequin, 1923. Oil on canvas, 130 x 97 cm. © Picasso Succession 2018 – Copyright Management. Location: Paris, Center Pompidou – National Museum of Modern Art – Industrial Creation Center. Photo © Pompidou Center, MNAM-CCI, Dist. RMN-Grand Palace / Adam Rzepka

  • Pablo Picasso - Les Femmes à leur toilette

Femmes a Leur Toilette

This collage piece was made in the winter of 1937–1938 and is going to be presented for the first time after it was restored in 2018. By depicting the intimate women space e.g. situation in which women are grooming each other, Picasso made an ode to his romantic partners – Dora Maar, Marie-Thérèse Walter, and Olga Picasso.

The composition was finished at Picasso’s Grands-Augustins studio in Paris, a few months before the iconic Guernica, so it can be said Femmes à leur toilette is the predecessor of the later.

This Picasso masterpiece perfectly embodies the radical innovations which governed him throughout his life.

Featured image: Pablo Picasso – Les Femmes à leur toilette, 1937. Paper glued, wallpapers cut out, glued and gouache on paper mounted on canvas, 299 x 448 centimeters. Picasso National Museum-Paris Dation Pablo Picasso, 1979 © Picasso Succession 2018

  • Pablo Picasso - La Chevre

La Chevre

In 1946 Picasso lived in Golfe-Juan near Antibes, and during that year, Romuald Dor de La Souchère asked him to set up his studio in the Grimaldi museum, where he was the director. The artist worked there for a month and as he produced 23 paintings and 44 sketches. Interestingly so, the museum became the first museum dedicated to Picasso in France two decades later.

La Chèvre was made during that time and is a representation of an important animal in Picasso’s practice. The body of the animal is an effect of both realist drawing and cubist geometrization.

Featured images: Pablo Picasso – La Chèvre, 1950. Palm leaf, metal and plaster, 120.5 x 72 x 144 cm. Pablo Picasso National Museum Dation Pablo Picasso, 1979 © Picasso Succession 2018; Pablo Picasso – La Chèvre, 1946. Ripolin, charcoal and graphite on wood, 119.6 x 149.5 cm. Picasso Museum, Antibes, Gift of the artist © Picasso Succession 2018

  • Pablo Picasso and Pierre Reverdy - Le Chant des morts

Le Chant des Morts

Picasso started collaborating with a lithographer Fernand Mourlot in 1945 in Paris. They worked on several projects, but in 1948 Mourlot printed a book Le Chant des morts by Pierre Reverdy which was illustrated by Picasso. It is important to add that the artist and lithograhper expanded their interest in this medium and experimented with poster art. All the tools which the two them used during the lithographic process, as well as souvenirs of these explorations, will be shown for the very first time.

The catalog Picasso Lithographe which Mourlot published in 1970 reflects Picasso’s unlimited talent and interest in working with different media. Furthemore, this catalog is significant since it reveals Picasso’s research on prints and his immense craftsmanship through the art of duplication, so it is not unusual that the printed images rank really good among Picasso masterpieces.

Featured image: Pablo Picasso and Pierre Reverdy – Le Chant des morts, 1948. Original lithographs by Pablo Picasso, Tériade Editions, 42.5 x 32.5 cm. Picasso National Museum Paris Don Maya Picasso, 1982 © Picasso Succession 2018