Group 26_

EL PICASSO DE LOS PICASSO (The Picasso’s Picassos)



On the occasion of its opening, the Museo Picasso Málaga has chosen as its first temporary exhibition El Picasso de los Picasso (The Picasso’s Picassos), curated by Carmen Giménez, who points out that the name of the exhibition alludes to Picasso’s most personal works, those he kept for himself. Some of them are known to the public whilst others have never been viewed before and remain, thirty years after the artist’s death, in the hands of his direct heirs or in a museum directly related to the creator of the Guernica.

This unique exhibition highlights the family character of the Museo Picasso Málaga, as it gathers 87 works coming from Picasso’s relatives or from museums created in his name in Paris, Barcelona and Antibes, as well as the Musée National Centre d’Art Moderne Georges Pompidou, the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía or the Fondation Beyeler, all of whom have contributed oil paintings and sculptures created between 1903 and 1971.

Among the most prominent works in the first exhibition room, La Celestina, 1903, is a clear representation of his Blue period, contrasting with an oil painting from his Pink period, Portrait of Madame Canals, 1905, while the strokes and primitive-art colors of Head and Shoulders of a Woman or Sailor, 1907, herald his emblematic Les Demoiselles d’Avignon. Also present in this gallery, we find a singular 1909 sculpture inspired in his companion Fernande, with neatly cut panes, and the splendid Man with a Guitar, 1911-1913 which embodies Analytical Cubism and its down toning of color. The following decade is represented by Man with a Pipe, 1923, oil with pencil and ink, displaying Picasso’s mastery of his craft and revealing a return to Classicism, and The Studio, 1928-1929, a gently colored drawing, in shaded grays, browns and whites, which opens the door to his Surrealistic period.

The second exhibition room starts with Standing Nude, 1928, a monumental composition that looks onto the Mediterranean, an attitude not unlike The Kiss, 1929, with its firm and sculptural volumes. Along with these works, Surrealist busts and faces are exhibited with two bronze figures of women playing ball";" paintings from the thirties, alternatively colorful and gently monochromatic belonging to his Boisgeloup period. Marie-Thérèse Walter inspired the magnificent Head of Woman, 1931, a sober bronze bust with intense organic features, or the sinuous oil and charcoal painting Marie-Thérèse in Front and Profile, 1931, full of mystery in its gray and black tones. Standing out in contrast, Marie-Thérèse radiates color sitting on a sofa in Reading (1932), while Reclining Nude Woman, painted that same year, sparkles with the artist’s joie de vivre. In the meantime, The Swimmer, 1934, is another masterpiece of this period. Other works in this room include magnificent portraits of Marie-Thérèse, a delicate portrait of two-year-old Maya wearing a red apron, and a range of scenes depicting his new lover, fellow artist Dora Maar, based on Velázquez.

Walking through the third exhibition room, we are initially faced with two emblematic works of the thirties: Personnage serrure, 1935, and Woman Seated in an Armchair, 1938, in which he sketches a disturbing head, symbolizing perhaps the fears and desperation of modern man. The visit continues with works from the forties and fifties, which illustrate Picasso’s unflagging energy: Woman in Gray and White, 1941, clearly sculptural";" Death’s Head, 1943, a bronze of unequal strength in its poignancy";" Composition and Volumes, 1945, where shapes seem to protrude from the canvas";" and a series of feminine figures and portraits from the mid forties.

This gallery undelines the overwhelming sensuality of Picasso’s vision, captured in Seated Nude with Arms Crossed on her Head, 1959, which anticipates a series of reclining nudes, 1960, 1964 and 1969, that sum up his love for clear outlines, sculptural volumes and a schematic approach that brings out the essence of his compositions. Two painted sheet-metal sculptures also stand out: Man with Lamb on Pedestal, 1961, and Woman with Tray and Bowl, 1961, as well as two bronze figures, Running Man, 1960, and Character-Child, 1960, that oscillate rather dynamically between figurative art and informalism.

Among the works from the end of the sixties, special mention should be made of Painter and Model, 1969, one of Picasso’s central themes, Couple, 1970, a careful rendering of a swordsman and a woman looking at each other –perhaps Jacqueline and himself in the winter of his life-, and The Flute Player, 1971, canvas of a naked woman in the prime of life captured by the vigorous and bold palette of a 90-year-old young man who retains in his gaze the blue and earthy intensity of his Mediterranean soul.

The fourth gallery holds some works from the forties, such as Still Life with Pitcher and Glass, 1944, which harks back to a traditional Spanish still life, elegant and somber";" two still lives";" and a lyric Woman in a Armchair, 1947, with big blue petals, an schematic vision of the feminine figure inspired in Françoise Gilot.

This part of the visit concludes with five works from the fifties, including Goat’s Skull, Bottle and Candle, 1952, which recalls the horrors of war and death";" a bronze sculpture of a man, 1958";" the geometrical lines of Paloma Standing, 1954";" Jacqueline Roque’s quiet stance in Bust of an Oriental Woman, 1955";" and Las Meninas, 1957, where Picasso masters visual space in a duel hand in hand with Velázquez.

On the occasion of this exhibition, an abundantly illustrated catalogue has been published, containing, apart from the institutional introductions, a brief presentation by the exhibition curator and Director of the Museo Picasso Málaga, Carmen Giménez, as well as a text by María Teresa Ocaña, Director of the Museu Picasso, Barcelona, describing the creation of the first monographic Picasso Museum, in Barcelona.