This week, we went to the DeYoung for the Picasso show. I’ll let the museum describe it:
The de Young hosts an extraordinary exhibition of more than 100 masterpieces by Spanish artist Pablo Picasso (1881–1973) from the permanent collection of Paris’s world-renowned Musée National Picasso. The once-in-a-lifetime exhibition, made possible only because of the temporary closure of the Musée Picasso until 2012 for extensive renovations, comprises paintings, sculptures, drawings, and prints drawn from every phase of the artist’s career.
Life always has complications. We were supposed to meet Jack and Lisa at the door, since Lisa had purchased the tickets (you always have to buy tickets in advance for special exhibitions, and plan a specific time). As we got there, my phone rang. It was Lisa, stuck in traffic and not going to be there for 15 or 20 minutes.
Thankfully, this is the age of cell phones and computers. I walked over to the membership desk, gave the phone to the woman working, she got Lisa’s membership number and printed out our tickets. Problem solved.
Going downstairs, we purchased our audio tours. Never fail to get the audio tour.
At 5:00 pm on Friday, there was no line to get into the show, so we punched the first number into our audio units and had at it.
This exhibition begins with:
This is a very early work, depicting the funeral of Picasso’s friend, who took his own life in despair after a failed love affair. It is significant because the death is thought to have precipitated his “blue period”, and caused a premature concept of his own mortality that colored the rest of his life.
Included in the show are many of his more than 1000 sketches for Les Demoiselles d’Avignon, (which hangs in the Museum of Modern Art in New York) often cited as the single most significant work of the 20th century and the origination of cubism. I thought it was odd that there were no sketches or preliminary work related to Guernica, his other world-changing work. (Which resides in the Prado in Madrid.)
A man of infinite creativity, Picasso worked in virtually every medium available, painting, sculpting, drawing, creating from scraps and leftovers. His constant flow from 2 dimensional work to 3 dimensional work might well be seen as a basis for cubism, which is a way to demonstrate the three dimensional world in a 2 dimensional plane.
Needless to say, we loved the show. The Stein show gives an overview of the modern art movement in the early 20th century–the Picasso show delves deeply into this one artist over the long period of his life. You really need to see them both.