Will flood of exhibits worldwide create Picasso art overdose?

Picasso art - 40 Picasso exhibitions in 3 years to celebrate artist's interest for the region

No less than 37 exhibitions devoted to Picasso art – the true painting genius of the twentieth century – are planned until 2019. A phenomenon that art experts justify by his protean talent.

Once upon a time an artist born under the reign of King Alfonso XII in Spain, who lived two world wars, many revolutions and died under the presidency of Georges Pompidou.

Once upon a time a painter, son of art teacher, born in a modest family of Andalusia and died rich and celebrated in his castle of Vauvenargues, near Aix-en-Provence where he is buried.

Once upon a time the giant Pablo Ruiz Picasso (1881-1973), born at the time of the emergence of impressionism and which was to revolutionize twentieth-century painting.

Picasso’s Exhibits worldwide

It is said – no one knows the true figures – that Picasso produced nearly 25,000 paintings and drawings that can feed a multitude of exhibitions around the world. Precisely, the years 2017 and 2018 are marked by an impressive set of exhibitions of Picasso art across Europe. The artist is revisited in all its chronology, and all its appetites are explored, from Paris to Malaga, from Naples to Perpignan, from London to Basel, via Rouen and Marseille.

Olga Picasso - Exhibition - Musee Picasso Paris
Olga Picasso – Exhibition – Musee Picasso Paris

Highlight on some 2017/2018 Picasso’s Exhibitions

  • Olga Picasso,” at the Picasso Museum, in Paris, from 21 March to 3 September.
  • “Picasso. Plein Soleil,”,at the Paris-Charles-de-Gaulle airport, in Roissy-en-France, until 15 June.
  • Primitive Picasso,” at the musée du Quai Branly-Jacques Chirac, in Paris, from 28 March to 23 July.
  • “A Picasso Season,” at the Museum of Fine Arts in Rouen, from April 1st to September 11.
  • “Pablo Picasso between cubism and neoclassicism”, at the Scuderies del Quirinale, in Rome, from September 21, 2017 to January 21, 2018.
  • “Picasso 1932”, at the Picasso Museum, in Paris, from October 10, 2017 to February 11, 2018.
  • “Picasso, imaginary travel”, in Mucem, Marseille, from February 2018 to June 2018.
  • “Picasso, blue and pink,” at the Musée d’Orsay, in Paris, from March 19.

Picasso art belongs to everyone

Bernard Picasso is the grandson of Pablo and Olga Picasso, the first wife of the master. He and his wife, Almine Rech, also founded a foundation (the Fundación Almine y Bernard Ruiz-Picasso para el Arte), whose first objective was to study Picasso’s work. He is also at the origin of the Picasso Museum in Malaga, for which he has donated 175 works and he regularly lends others. In 2016, the institution received 550,000 visitors. “Today Picasso art belongs to everyone. Our role is to advance knowledge in the analysis of his work”, he explained. All the centuries give rise to extraordinary characters. In a way, Picasso is a tool to understand much of the twentieth century. A vision of history useful in this tormented period. As of March 16, with Emilia Philippot and the art historian Joachim Pissarro, Bernard Picasso will be co-curator of an exhibition dedicated to Picasso’s first wife, Olga, at the Picasso Museum. They immersed themselves in the unpublished family archives of the Foundation, which contain nearly 7,000 photos and a rich correspondence, to draw the portrait of this beautiful former Russian dancer. Often represented as melancholic, she will have a difficult relationship with the sacred monster of painting, always in search of a new muse. But it was unknown, the torments experienced by his Russian family in the new USSR will also affect her mood and spirit.

Pablo and Olga Picasso
Pablo and Olga Picasso – Bernard Picasso’s Grandparents

Bernard Picasso is the owner of the Château de Boisgeloup, in the Eure (France). Pablo Picasso had made his acquisition in 1930, and it was the place where he made his sculptures. In Rouen, the Musée des Beaux-Arts devotes an exhibition to the production of the Spaniard in Boisgeloup. Bernard exceptionally opens the Picasso art venue at the same time with an exhibition by contemporary American artist Joe Bradley. At the same time, in Paris, the musée du Quai Branly-Jacques Chirac is inaugurating on March 28 the exhibition “Primitive Picasso”, whose curator is the director of the museum’s collections, Yves Le Fur. The latter recounts that “Picasso bought African and Oceanian art all his life. His relationship with these objects is magical. Some statuettes follow him from one workshop to another, from Montmartre to Cannes. “Picasso never collected in an ethnographic spirit,” said Le Fur. The operation will contain a hundred Picasso out of the 350 works exhibited.

Picasso Primitve - Exhibition in Paris

Picasso and The Mediterranean project

The protagonist of the next surge is the very dynamic president of the Picasso Museum in Paris, Laurent Le Bon. “Our museum reopened in 2014,” he said. “Picasso offers a work that is constantly renewed. Our role is to invite historians who will take an unprecedented look at his creation”. The Picasso Museum has 6,000 works, including 300 paintings. This allows the Picasso Museum of Paris to be a partner of the “Picasso Season” in Rouen, but above all to launch the large-scale project called Picasso and The Mediterranean, which consists of 10 exhibitions in 2017, 21 exhibitions in 2018 and six exhibitions in 2019. Among the most anticipated are “Picasso-Parade.” at the Capodimonte Museum in Naples (Italy), during the Spring, and “Picasso between cubism and neoclassicism.” in Rome in September. Its curator is Olivier Berggruen (son of one of Picasso’s last merchants, Heinz Berggruen) and art historian based in New York. His aim is to show how the performing arts – beginning with Serge Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes, with which the artist collaborated – had a major influence on Pablo Picasso art and creation.

costune designs and sketch for the Ballets Russes by Pablo Picasso
Costume designs and sketch by Pablo Picasso for Serge Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes

Picasso in Barcelona

The Picasso Museum in Barcelona is also part of this colossal Mediterranean operation. The institution is known for its richness in the blue and pink periods of the artist’s early days. During the winter of 2018, he was also one of the key lenders for the exhibition “Picasso, blue and pink,” a particularly anticipated operation proposed by the Musée d’Orsay before traveling to the Fondation Beyeler in Basel. Emmanuel Guignon freshly arrived at the head of the Barcelona institution, is planning an exhibition “Picasso, painting in the stomach” on the relationship between the artist and the victuals in his art and his life, in 2018. Obviously, this Picasso Museum is included in the program of the Mediterranean celebrations with a “Picasso in Barcelona,” place of formation of the young years of the painter. Barcelona is also a site of inspiration for Picasso’s most famous painting, Les Demoiselles d’Avignon, which represents Barcelona prostitutes practicing in Avignon Street.

Les Demoiselles d'Avignon - Pablo Picasso
Les Demoiselles d’Avignon – Barcelona influences- Pablo Picasso (1907)

When asked about the risk of Picasso art public saturation, he replied: “Picasso was recognized as a genius in painting even before 1914. He is one of the inventors of Cubism, one of the greatest ceramists, a remarkable engraver and one of the great sculptors of the twentieth century. Guernica is seen as the masterpiece of political painting, Les Demoiselles d’Avignon is considered as the birth of modern painting.”

Picasso in Marseille

In Marseille, Le Mucem, directed by Jean-François Chougnet, proposed last summer a relevant exhibition devoted to Picasso and the popular arts, or how the artist was marked by the Catholic ex-voto of his childhood, the corrida and why he loved so much to make toys for his children. This successful operation achieved a record attendance of 212,000 visitors. In 2018, in collaboration with the museums of Marseille, he will propose Picasso-Méditerranée “Picasso, imaginary journeys.” What does he think of a Picasso overdose? “Different kinds of Picasso exhibitions exist,” says Jean-François Chougnet. If this is an umpteenth retrospective in a site that has no connection with the artist, there is a risk of failure. What does not work are the incoherent displays of Picasso’s paintings, the easy operations.” Picasso art is not always the guarantee of success at the box office. The Grand Palais paid the price for it with the exhibition “Picasso.Mania”, inaugurated in October 2015. The poor exploration of Picasso’s influence on contemporary art attracted only 2,900 people a day in this emblematic place.

Pablo PIcasso - Corrida (1934)
Pablo Picasso – Corrida (1934)

One day Pablo Picasso confided to the man whom he had commissioned to write his catalog, Christian Zervos: “A painting is a sum of additions. To me, a painting is a sum of destruction. With this flood of exhibits, visitors will be able to destroy them in turn. Destroy their ready-made ideas of what is called the greatest painter of the twentieth century. And Picasso will come out of it.

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