Friday, August 12, 2011

Picasso Art Exhibit in San Francisco at deYoung Museum

deYoung Museum in San Francisco, California
photo by Caitlin Childs 

One of the best things for art lovers to do in San Francisco, California is visit the deYoung Museum in Golden Gate Park, and through October 9, 2011 the Picasso exhibit is on tour. The Musee National Picasso in Paris, France is undergoing renovations, and the artworks are on vacation while their home is a construction zone. This has offered an amazing opportunity for the deYoung to host a show of 150 temporarily displaced masterpieces.

Picasso Art Show in San Francisco

Picasso Standing Before Guernica
photo by Sharon Mollerus  
Nine galleries display paintings, drawings, sculptures, metalworks, ceramics and assemblages from Pablo Picasso's (1881-1973) long and prolific career. The works are special because they come from his personal collection and were apparently pieces he particularly cherished.

La Mort de Casagemas, 1901, depicts the head of a close friend in his casket, painted in the style of Van Gogh. Casagemas was a young man who had just committed suicide after being spurned by a woman he loved. The event profoundly impacted Picasso as to the power women hold over men, perhaps explaining his subsequent behavior with women, notably his aversion to being conquered by one.

The mourning of his friend ushered in his famous blue period, when he used dark blues and cold colors to convey melancholy, loneliness and moodiness. Celestina, the Woman With One Eye, 1904, came from this era. Picasso eventually emerged from his despair to happier times, which shined through during his rose period, beginning in 1906. He then preferred to use pastel reds, pinks and oranges, and often painted circus performers, acrobats and harlequins. Picasso saw African masks and artwork at a gallery during these early years, which began his lifelong fascination with the medium. He often depicted masks in his paintings and began a collection.

Cubism came into being between 1909 and 1914, and Picasso's first cubist sculpture, Head of a Woman, 1909, is on display. However, the supreme artist of the twentieth century wasn't confined to one style. The depth and breadth of his work incorporated classical, modern, representational, neoclassical and surreal pieces. He said that when people tried to peg him to a certain style, he had already moved on to something else. He experimented with new techniques while also returning to former styles all his life.

Picasso's Picassos in San Francisco

Guernica, 1937
The artist's wives and mistresses were his models, and the way he felt about them was reflected in his paintings. His first wife Olga left him when she learned his mistress, Marie-Therese Walter, had borne him a love child. He later abandoned Marie-Therese for a brunette artist named Dora Maar. "How awful for a woman to realize from my work that she is being supplanted," he once said.

Picasso viewed the creation of art as a visual diary, and his work did represent the people he knew, the times he lived in and his political views. He was a pacifist who lived during four major wars, and his revulsion for war spilled across his canvases, particularly Guernica, 1937.

Picasso once said, "I am the greatest collector of Picassos in the world," and the collection he left for the French government is proof of his statement. The deYoung Museum is one of the lucky few chosen to display these priceless works, saving those in the San Francisco area a trip to France. It is a once-in-a-lifetime event not to be missed.


deYoung Museum

The San Francisco Examiner

Read more: Bouquets to Art Exhibit at the deYoung

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