This post is ostensibly about the blockbuster Picasso Sculpture show at the MOMA, but first a bit of kvelling.  Our 13-year-old daughter Gina won an international cello competition, first place in her age group, which led to a solo performance at Carnegie Hall. It provided a good excuse for the entire family to take in the Picasso show. Picasso Sculpture runs through Sunday, February 7.  Words are simply not up to the task of doing this sculptor justice.  Thankfully by now enough critics have tried that I don’t need to further extol the exhibit–apart from just adding this word of encouragement: drop everything right now and go there! It was great to see so many of our faves all at once—they never get old—but it […]



Q: I  have very much enjoyed  reading your blog and have learned a lot from you.  I can understand that you are very particular in your tastes and views about what is great Picasso work. I have even emailed you and appreciate your kindness in that you always even reply back.  I consider you one of the leading U.S. art authorities on Picasso. But I think you do not realize that you are a little intimidating, almost like a Picasso snob. I started by collecting Chagall and then began to branch out in my taste.  Your blog helped me to better understand Picasso’s work.  But sadly I’m not rich; my wealthier friends would be shocked at what I’ve spent on art. The only art they ever

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Which one of these does not belong?

Q: I have been reading your blog re Picasso and his prints. You say that Picasso didn’t use pochoir, but I have read on other websites that he actually made 200 of them.  Who is correct?  -Sue G A: I can see why you would find this confusing, especially because that fancy French term sounds so very artsy.  But pochoir (French for “stencil”) is a reproductive technique, so of course Picasso didn’t  use it to create art. Picasso made original art. Other people reproduced some of his artworks using the pochoir technique, and at times he signed these reproductions by hand—for a fee.  Although these are by no means original artworks, they do have decorative value (though nothing like the

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Sneak Preview of The “Unknown” Masterpiece

“I do hope you’re not driving” “Mkay👀👀🙈” We had been texting back and forth while crossing the Bay Bridge, but the liberal use of emoticons betrayed my young ghostwriter. “Can’t wait to meecha mystery scribe….  Tell your chauffeur that I’m staring at a beauuuuutiful Picasso: nude with crossed legs” Sofie, riding shotgun, glanced at the attachment and pronounced that it was indeed beautiful.  Unwilling to take my eyes off the road to examine my iPhone, I discounted all of these accounts.  Not that I doubted any of their eyes—all three sets are quite keen—but I figured they were all admiring just another nice Picasso.  After all, there are so many.  Little did I know what was awaiting us as we entered the

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Art as Investment

I might as well start with the disclaimers, since they run both wide and deep:  I’m not an economist. My crystal ball is just as murky as anyone’s. I don’t give investment advice. I am not a certified financial planner. Need I go on?  Despite this rather all-encompassing disclosure, I nonetheless get a steady stream of questions about the investment value of art, which I then need to address.  The typical questions range from whether art is a good investment vehicle in general, to general questions about Picassos as investment, to questions about the investment value of a specific Picasso. I have previously touched upon the subject of art as investment in this blog, first in 2004  and again in 2010.  Time has

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Musée Picasso Paris, Redux

I suppose it’s time to weigh in on the newly reopened Picasso Museum Paris.  Not that it needs it—it truly speaks for itself.  But opinions vary, and it should come as no surprise that the museum has its detractors, despite the fact that it has more Picassos and has more of them on view than any other place on earth.  Weirdly, that doesn’t seem to stop some people.  For example, see the scathing review by Holland Cotter in the NY Times of Oct. 27, 2014 (  Tell you what—I’ll spare you and just paste one of his choicest rants: “All together, you can learn a tremendous amount about him in the Picasso Museum show, not least that he could be

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Lessons from the Block

What happens when you mix a rare and desirable blue-chip art collection with a bevy of hungry collectors?  Well, at the special sale of unique Picasso ceramics from Marina Picasso’s collection, held at Sotheby’s London this June, the result, as you may have expected, was an unmitigated feeding frenzy.  Rarely if ever has there been an opportunity for the public to see, much less choose among, such a large collection of the master’s unique ceramics.  According to one of the Sotheby’s auctioneers, this assortment represented the lion’s share of Marina’s remaining unique ceramic collection.  Even without this disclosure, many collectors must have judged that they were unlikely to ever again come across such a large collection of unique Picasso ceramics. Casey and

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The Golden Dove

  As our family of five is wrapping up our mini-“Grand Tour” of London and the Continent, I find myself thinking again and again about the many highlights of our trip.  Our visit to the “new and improved” Picasso Museum in Paris deserves a whole blogpost in and of itself, but, although it’s been almost a week, my mind is still reverberating from that transcendent visual onslaught and needs to regain some composure before I can even think about tackling it.  Then I should also weave in our visit to the French Riviera, with the Picasso Museum in Antibes, the Picasso Chapel in Vallauris with the wartime L’Homme au Mouton (The Man with the Sheep, 1943) in the nearby square, Picasso’s

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Wuzon da Block?

On a jet-lagged early morning, I’d like to spill my thoughts onto this screen so you can hurry and see these spectacular Picassos, in case you happen to be in the ‘hood.  This time I sojourned in NY with one of our kids, and I have to say that the apostate Sofie chose as the best-in-show not a Picasso at all, but rather a Warhol painting.  Well, Superman is an admittedly spectacular Warhol, but since I’m writing this and not Sofie, it’s not going to be illustrated here. The 1000-pound gorilla in the room was the unavoidable Les Femmes d’Alger, Version O (above).  This Christie’s blockbuster, which is predicted (and I believe also guaranteed) to break the world auction record

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Wuzon da Block?

Here’s an owl worth noting at Sotheby’s evening sale in London this week.  In my opinion, it is the one of the two nicest Picasso owls and arguably the most desirable Picasso terracotta or ceramic, period. La Chouette (1950)  was one of about a dozen that were cast from a mold, as well as six bronzes.  Picasso then painted each ceramic differently.  The bronze version is lovely and is of course sturdier than the ceramic, but I find the painted terracottas to be more expressive than the bronzes and, in a number of cases, more beautiful. It is noteworthy that five of these ceramic variants including the current lot (but no bronze) were included in the MOMA’s 1980 Picasso retrospective, the greatest and

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