Sidewalks of New York

  It’s springtime in New York, and Picassos, like bulbs, are flowering everywhere.  It was truly a pleasure to soak them in at the museums, the auctions, and also at Marlborough Gallery, which had staged an impressive print exhibit, including the masterpieces from the Nelson Blitz and Catherine Woodard collection.   It was also a relief that Giacometti was bloodlessly deposed, after his brief and inexplicable reign. Curiously, I found myself defending the Met’s exhibit, primarily from charges that the show was long on early works but short on the rest.  The NY Times was in the vanguard of this innuendo, but more than one of my friends followed its lead.  It seemed to me to say more about human nature—you …

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  This lovely Picasso, Femme au chapeau (circa 1955),  is courtesy of a Picasso lover and aspiring collector, who writes, “Just to give you a bit more background from my end, my wife is a sculptor and we obviously have a shared interest in art. I’ve become fascinated by Picasso over the years, and owning a print has been a longstanding ambition. “There’s also a family connection – my father and a friend spent a week with Picasso in the south of France in (I believe) 1955.   As I understand it, the friend (Ernest Asher) knew Picasso – he may have been his dentist. As my father told it, they got on very well; my father (then and later) didn’t …


Never Too Late Picasso

Looks like we won’t have a chance to see the blockbuster Gagosian show.  By now I’ve however looked through the catalogue a couple of times and am deeply impressed by the assortment of wonderful paintings he amassed for it. (I’m not so big on late Picasso prints, with a few notable exceptions.)  John Richardson’s essay was of course also quite gratifying, as usual.  This is not at all a criticism, for as Richardson somewhere says, including drawings would have of necessity greatly broadened the scope of the show.  It would, I imagine, have been difficult to assemble a suitably representative cross-section of his late works on paper, since his output in the last few years was both vast and varied.  …

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Our fifth anniversary in the business of selling Picassos came and went without much fanfare. In fact, it occurs to me that I don’t know exactly when it is. Sometime around April, I suppose—let’s call it April 1. The uncertainty about the date is attributable to having started this business without an opening or any other inaugural event, which I suppose one would more likely encounter in a storefront gallery than a private dealership such as ours. Rather, somewhere around this time five years ago, we simply set about building on our twenty-year-old collection by acquiring the best Picassos we could find in our budget, established a presence on the web, and started developing our reputation, one click at a …

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A final note about the recent Minotauromachie conference. Or rather about the Q & A which followed, in which one lugubrious chap posed the question, rhetorical no doubt, to the distinguished panelists: what would Picasso have thought about Iraq? At the time I confess to having been a bit annoyed by the question. Here we were discussing the meanings of Picasso’s work on an ethereal level, aspiring to the universal meanings he achieved and not getting bogged down in mundane matters such as politics. Yet, frankly, the Bush administration forced the issue by covering the tapestry reproduction of Picasso’s Guernica, which hangs at the entrance of the U.N. Security Council, in preparation for Colin Powell’s fateful call to war. Someone …

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Art Crime in the News

It has both a good and bad week for art crime in the news.  The bad news is the heist of a number of Picassos from his granddaughter Diana’s home, two paintings of which (shown below) have been valued together at $66 million. On the bright side is the following article that AP ran on March 8, 2007: “A couple who sold art through televised auctions admitted selling bogus works and forging signatures of artists including Picasso, Chagall and Dali in a scam that bilked buyers out of millions of dollars, prosecutors said. “In court documents filed Monday, Kristine Eubanks, 49, and her husband, Gerald Sullivan, 51, of La Canada, in Los Angeles County, were charged with conspiracy to commit …

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A Tribute to Picasso on his 125th Birthday

  The 25th of this month marks Picasso’s 125th birthday. Although Picasso’s work was largely inspired by his famously extreme joie de vivre, his long life also spanned and bore witness to the principal horrors of the last century. Yet in the 33 years since his death, the world has become a bleaker and more uncertain place. Picasso immeasurably enriched our lives with the unutterable beauty and poignancy of his art, but, as he said, “Painting is not made to decorate apartments; it’s an offensive and defensive weapon against the enemy.” Those of us in Picasso’s thrall would do well to remember that his work is not merely decorative, that it rises above ornament to celebrate all that is beautiful …

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Just Paintings on Your Walls

“Are you aware of the wonderful quote attributed to Picasso when, in the 60’s or 70’s there was a sudden diminution of prices at auction of his (and others’) works, he was asked what he thought of the loss of value.  He is alleged to have said (although I don’t recall the exact words) ‘for years people have been collecting my art as an investment, and suddenly all they have are my paintings on their walls.’”  -Jerry  G.

Spanish Lessons

I love Peter Schjeldahl, The New Yorker’s art critic—he has such a good way with words. It’s the substance of his essays I have a problem with. I first lost faith in him as a Picasso critic in his review of the MOMA’s Matisse-Picasso show, when he eenie-meenie-mynie-mo’ed which painting was the best in show until he settled upon Matisse’s The Piano Lesson, because it “falls entirely outside Picasso’s range.” Sorry, but nothing Matisse ever did was beyond the range of the creator of a hundred styles. Now Schjeldahl takes some more potshots at the maestro in his review of the current Picasso show in Madrid (“Spanish Lessons”, June 19, 2006), which shows Picasso side-by-side with some of the Old …

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