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Displaying items by tag: blue period

One of only a handful of blue period Picassos still in private hands will come to the market with a never publicly seen secret on the reverse of its canvas.

Picasso’s La Gommeuse, an erotically charged 1901 painting of a cabaret performer, is remarkable in its own right and will create waves at the top end of the global art auction market.

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Sue Roe's chronicle of artistic high jinks in modernist Paris comes wrapped in a cover of blushing red, inky black and bilious green. These are the colours in which Picasso painted the Moulin de la Galette, a hilltop windmill in Montmartre that no longer ground flour but instead served as a raffish dance hall. Female mouths are like bleeding wounds, male top hats have a silky black sheen, and an unnatural green glare alluding to that most toxic of local tipples, absinthe.

Inside, Roe's writing is almost equally vivid. Reading her account of the way modern painters saw the world anew in raw, garish tones, you might feel the need to reach for your sunglasses. Picasso, the protagonist of this group biography, follows a relatively monochrome course from the frostbitten poverty of his "blue period" to a "rose period" when his images are warmed by a new sensuality.

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A hidden painting has been found by scientists beneath the brush strokes of The Blue Room, a 1901 Picasso artwork.

Art experts and conservators at The Phillips Collection in Washington used infrared technology on the masterpiece, revealing a bow-tied man with his face resting on his hand.

Picasso created both works in Paris during his famous blue period.

"It's really one of those moments that really makes what you do special," said conservator Patricia Favero.

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Friday, 12 April 2013 11:24

UK Lets Go of Important Picasso Painting

After 89 years in British collections, Pablo Picasso’s (1881-1973) Child with a Dove will leave the UK. The painting, which marks Picasso’s transition from a predominantly Impressionist style to his somber blue period, was sold last year to a collector in Qatar for nearly $77 million. The UK’s government quickly placed an export ban on the work in hopes that a British buyer would step up and claim the painting. The ban expired in December and no British collector or institution was able to raise the funds necessary to keep Child with a Dove in the country.

Qatar has emerged as a major force in the modern and contemporary art markets in recent years. In 2011, the emirate purchased one of Paul Cézanne’s (1839-1906) versions of The Card Players for $250 million. Other major acquisitions by the country include Mark Rothko’s (1903-1970) White Center (Yellow, Pink and Lavender on Rose) for $72 million as well as works by Andy Warhol (1928-1987) and Richard Serra (b. 1939).  

Child with a Dove first came to the UK in 1924 after being purchased by a British collector, Mrs. R.A. Workman. The painting eventually made its way to the art collector Samuel Courtauld and following his death in 1947 was bequeathed to the Welsh Aberconway family. Christie’s sold the painting in 1947 on behalf of the Aberconways. Just last year the painting went on display at the Courtauld Gallery, which Samuel Courtauld founded, as part of the exhibition Becoming Picasso: Paris 1901. The exhibition ends on May 27, 2013 at which point the painting will be returned to Christie’s and then shipped out of the UK.  

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Wednesday, 03 April 2013 18:15

Picasso Painting at the Center of Legal Battle

The heirs of Paul von Mendelssohn-Bartholdy, a prominent German Jewish banker during the early 20th century, filed a lawsuit against the German state of Bavaria for failing to return a Pablo Picasso (1881-1973) painting that once belonged to their relative. The plaintiffs claim that Mendelssohn-Bartholdy, a relative of the composer Felix Mendelssohn (1809-1847), was forced to sell the painting titled Madame Soler (circa 1903) after ending up destitute at the hands of the Nazi regime.

Mendelssohn’s descendants say that the Bavarian State Paintings Collection, a division of the Bavarian state, acquired Madame Soler in 1964 from New York-based art dealer Justin Thannhauser, who had purchased the work from Mendelssohn-Bartholdy in 1934. The plaintiffs have been attempting to seek restitution from the German state since 2009.

Madame Soler, which is from Picasso’s seminal blue period, is said to be worth approximately $100 million.

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Wednesday, 20 February 2013 12:08

Art Institute of Chicago Celebrates Pablo Picasso

In 1913, the Art Institute of Chicago became the first American art museum to present the work of the young Spanish artist, Pablo Picasso (1881-1973). One hundred years later, the museum is celebrating its important relationship with the artist with the exhibition Picasso and Chicago.

Picasso and Chicago features 250 works by the artist who went on to become one of the defining figures in 20th century art. Paintings, sculptures, prints, drawings, and ceramics from the museum’s holdings as well as private collections in the city will be on view. This is the first comprehensive Picasso exhibition organized by the Art Institute in nearly 30 years.

The Art Institute of Chicago began collecting works by Picasso after the seminal 1913 Armory Show, which revolutionized American modern art. Works on view from the museum’s collection include The Old Guitarist (1903-04), Mother and Child (1921), Red Armchair (1931), and the sculpture Cubist Head of a Woman (Fernande) (1909). The exhibit also features impressions of The Frugal Meal (1904), one of only three examples in the world of the well-known Blue Period etching actually printed in blue ink.

Picasso and Chicago will be on view through May 12, 2013.

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On view through April 12, 2013 at the Cleveland Museum of Art, Picasso and the Mysteries of Life: Deconstructing La Vie is the first exhibition devoted to Pablo Picasso’s (1881-1973) complex masterpiece, which defined his well-known Blue Period. A cornerstone of the museum’s collection, La Vie (1903) is accompanied by related works on loan from Barcelona’s Museu Picasso as well as works by Francisco Goya (1746-1828), Albrecht Dürer (1471-1528), and Auguste Rodin (1840-1917) from the Cleveland Museum’s own collection.

The exhibition uses x-radiographs, infrared reflectographs, and other scientific methods to delve into the process behind La Vie. Displayed on iPads, the technological investigation illustrates Picasso’s creative process and how he altered the painting’s composition considerably before deeming the work complete.

Picasso drew preliminary sketches for La Vie in May of 1903. At the time, he was a young, unknown artist who still lived in his parents’ home in Barcelona. The first sketches depicted an artist in his studio and evolved into a more intricate scene meant to evoke thoughts about life and art and the intersection of the two. A solid analysis of La Vie has always eluded scholars due to its enigmatic subject, early history, and its relationship to Picasso’s other works from this time. However, the painting has never been examined as thoroughly and in-depth as by the Cleveland Museum of Art.

Picasso and the Mysteries of Life strives to make sense of the work by exploring the subjects of the painting. Carles Casagemas, the gaunt man featured in the work’s left foreground, was a friend of Picasso’s and a fellow artist. Casagemas committed suicide in 1901, prompting Picasso to contemplate the glorification of suicide and the bohemian lifestyle in modern art and culture. The woman standing behind Casagemas in La Vie has been identified as Germaine Pichot, his lover and a contributor to his suicide. Pichot stands as a symbol of Picasso’s coded representation of women and in a broader sense, as the fatal woman often portrayed in modern art.

A 163-page book by William H. Robinson, the Cleveland Museum’s curator of modern European art, accompanies the exhibition. The book further explores the role of La Vie in Picasso’s creative process as well as the important issues in the modernist culture of the 19th and 20th centuries that affected Picasso and his work. Robinson explores how Spanish and French literature affected Picasso’s Blue Period paintings, the impact of Rodin’s large retrospective of 1900 on the young artist, and Picasso’s ongoing struggle to fully understand the notions of fate and destiny.

Deconstructing La Vie is the inaugural exhibition in the Cleveland Museum of Art’s new Focus Gallery.

Published in News
Wednesday, 24 October 2012 12:20

Two Picassos in One

Picasso Black and White opened earlier this month at the Guggenheim Museum in New York. The first major exhibition to focus on the artist’s lifelong exploration of a black and white palette features 118 painting, sculptures, and works on paper spanning from 1904 to 1971. Five of the works have never been exhibited or published and another thirty-eight works have never been on view in the U.S.

The Guggenheim exhibition has received plenty of praise since its opening but there is one painting in the show that is unlike the others. Woman Ironing (La Repasseuse) is a quintessential image of the disenfranchised people Picasso focused on during his Blue Period (1901–1904). Painted at the tail end of the period, the white and gray palette creates a tired, bleak atmosphere for the frail woman who stands hunched over her iron. But there is something beyond this gloomy woman.

Picasso painted Woman Ironing while he was a struggling artist in his 20s. For economy’s sake he reused an old canvas that he had already used for the beginnings of a portrait of man with a mustache, which he later abandoned. In 1989 an infrared camera detected the presence of the man underneath Woman Ironing. Advances in x-ray and infrared technology have allowed a clearer image of the mysterious mustachioed man and scholars, curators, and conservators have various theories as to who he is. Suggestions include Richard Canals, a rival artist and friend of Picasso, Mateu de Soto, a sculptor with whom Picasso shared apartments and studios with, and Benet Soler, a tailor who was one of Picasso’s oldest friends. Some theories suggest the man with the mustache was one of Picasso’s early self-portraits.

Black and White and Woman Ironing will be on view at the Guggenheim through January 23, 2013.

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