10 OCTOBER 2017 - 11 FEBRUARY 2018
The exhibition displayed twenty-five essential masterpieces contemplating the theme of eroticism, painted in 1932 - often referred to as Picasso’s ‘year of wonders’, as well as a series of interesting archival documents such as letters, sketches, prints, sculptures, even poetry that were linked to this period.
"PAINTING IS JUST ANOTHER WAY OF KEEPING A DIARY.” - PABLO PICASSO
The works of art were organised in a meticulous chronological order, reviewing Picasso’s famous method according to which “the work that one does is a way of keeping one’s journal”. Among the highlights of the exhibition were a series of bathers, colourful portraits and compositions with a hint of surrealism, inspired by the figure of Marie-Thérèse Walter - Picasso’s muse and lover.
Above, left ‘Girl Before A Mirror’ (Jeune fille devant un mirroir) which usually has its place of honour at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, was one of the exhibition’s highlights. It is a very complex painting conveying duality between the self and alter-ego, day and night, light and dark, tranquility and anxiety, reality and fantasy which the woman attempts to conciliate.
The theme of duality is revisited in “Nude Woman in a Red Armchair’ (Femme nue dans un fauteuil rouge) - above right, which is another portrait of Marie-Thérèse, more gentle and sensual this time, painted in one summer day at Picasso’s estate in Boisgeloup, soon after her 23rd birthday.
Painted in Picasso’s Parisian apartment on Rue de la Boëtie, ‘The Dream’ (Le Rêve) is maybe the pièce de résistance of the exhibition, charged with symbolism and erotism, which makes, undeniably, a strong reference to surrealism and psychoanalysis. Here, a dreamy Marie-Thérèse becomes the projection of the painter’s erotic desires. As Leo Steinberg stated in his essay ‘Sleepwatchers’, ‘sleep observers materialize thoughts in which form, desire, art and life intersect’. ‘Le Rêve’ is a metaphor where sexuality is the symbol of creativity and the sexual act becomes the act of creation.
That same year, the prestigious Galerie Georges Petit in Paris organised a retrospective of Picasso’s work, held from June 16 to July 30, 1932. Attracting more than 2000 visitors, the exhibition was nevertheless the artistic and social event of the year. The retrospective displayed 223 paintings, thirty of them being executed earlier that year especially for this occasion, seven sculptures and illustrated books which sparked off certain reactions from public and press.
A slightly different version of the Parisian exhibition follows at the Kunsthaus in Zurich - which has exhibited the works of the Spanish painter to the public and critics for the first time in 1911, was to become Picasso’s first major museum exhibition drawing a record crowd of more than 30,000 visitors.
1932 also marked the publication of the first volume of the ‘Catalogue raisonné" of the work of Pablo Picasso, published by Christian Zervos, which remains the most accurate archive of an artist’s work ever made, displaying more than 16,000 paintings and drawings.
With more than 110 paintings, drawings, engravings and sculptures, the exhibition followed Picasso during the year of 1932, in his day-to-day creative process and life. The artist had just turned fifty and enjoyed, for some years now, a controversial recognition yet undeniable in its value.
From 8 March to 9 September 2018 this unique art collection can be rediscovered under the name 'The EY Exhibition Picasso 1932 - Love, Fame, Tragedy' in the Eyal Ofer Galleries at Tate Modern in London.
Coming soon to Musée National Picasso
At the end of the month, The Musée National Picasso - Paris will organise an exhibition dedicated to the 80th anniversary of ‘Guernica’, one of the world’s most famous works of art, in partnership with the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía in Madrid. The mural-sized oil on canvas is a powerful anti-war manifesto and was created in 1937 as a response to the bombings of the Basque village of Guernica, during the Spanish civil war. Since 1992, it has been permanently exhibited in Madrid and will be soon on display at Musée National Picasso in Paris for the duration of the exhibition.
Musée National Picasso is open from 10h30 to 18h00, Monday to Sunday
5 rue de Thorigny 75003 Paris