Picasso museum exhibits

The Measure of the Man: Introduction to the de Young Picasso Exhibit

  It is impossible to fully appreciate the breadth and depth of Picasso’s art without pouring through his catalogues raisonnés (the tomes that illustrate all of his known artworks).  Visiting the Picasso Museum in Paris is as close as one can come to achieving this goal by looking at the actual art.  The traveling loan from that museum at the de Young includes many masterpieces but is still a very small sample of his work.  It’s about as representative as 150 of his artworks could be, but he created so many varied styles and subjects that they couldn’t be included in any depth, or some of them included at all, in a show of this size.  The exemplars of the Blue […]

The Measure of the Man: Introduction to the de Young Picasso Exhibit Read More »

Picasso in Exile

Why bother visiting Paris, you might ask, as long as the Picasso Museum remains closed?  Good question.  But my family and I decided to go anyway, unwilling to wait another year.  Our Picasso treasure hunt therefore required a little extra work, since you couldn’t very well go to just one place and be greeted by Picasso’s many persons and things.  Our first Picasso sighting was just a fortunate accident–while strolling near our flat, my wife Casey spotted this wonderful, if bird-stained, bronze of Dora Maar (Tête de femme, aka Monument à Guillaume Apollinaire) in a small garden in the shadow of the gothic Church of St. Germain des Prés (located at its eponymous square).  This wartime sculpture (1941) was chosen by committee to

Picasso in Exile Read More »


The Picasso Museum on wheels, currently at the de Young in San Francisco, is such a wonderful show (see “Picasso by the Bay” below) that it’s almost easier to discuss what’s not there than what is.  Well not quite, though each great Picasso, in addition to being loved and understood on its own merits, must be seen in the context of his entire oeuvre for full appreciation, given the added dimensions that the context inevitably provides.  I won’t again trot out the by now overused Picasso-ism about the movement of his thought interesting him (in his later years) more than the thought itself–there, I said it anyway. But nowhere is that movement better preserved, with the exception of the successive


Picasso by the Bay

  San Francisco is so awash in Picasso this summer that I feel like I never left New York.  First the Steins’ Picassos, then the de Young, last night Woody Alan (pleasant fluff, but what a one-dimensional Picasso; though I suppose Woody may not have needed any more dimensions in the service of his film), and we haven’t yet even gotten to the ceramics show at the Legion of Honor.  The Steins Collect show at the SFMOMA is quite wonderful (ending Sept. 6; see above), but since it trails off near the beginning of Synthetic Cubism (when Picassos grew too dear for the Steins’ budget), it is good preparation for the de Young Museum exhibit: Picasso: Masterpieces from the Musée National

Picasso by the Bay Read More »


Among the ways the Stein collection (currently on view at the SFMOMA) can be viewed is as one family’s referendum on the time-honored debate among art lovers: Picasso versus Matisse.  Those two artists contributed most of the significant pieces to the collection. Yet in addition to her brother Leo’s objection to  Gertrude’s sapphic relationship, the disagreement that developed between these siblings as to who was the better artist, Matisse or Picasso, tore them apart, drove Leo out of their shared apartment, and caused each of them to divest most of his or her holdings of the artist who had lost favor.  They’re presumably not the first couple to have suffered such a fate (though they may have been the first).  The poet


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

Sidewalks of New York Read More »

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. 

Never Too Late Picasso Read More »