Monday, September 14, 2015

PICASSO SCULPTURES IN 3-d: Review by Polly Guerin

Bull. Cannes, 1958
Picasso loved some of his sculptures so much that during his lifetime he kept many of them in his home, living among them as if they were family members. Now MoMA has brought them to New York in the largest exhibition of the Spaniard’s three-dimensional works spanning the years 1902-2016.
            That’s what makes Picasso Sculpture, the exhibition at The Museum of Modern Art, a once-in-a-lifetime event, not to be missed, and some rare and wonderful ceramics also dominate the show. The exhibition opens today, September 14 and has an extended run through to February 7, 2016.
            This is the largest museum presentation of Picasso sculptures to take place in the United States and fills the museum’s entire fourth floor galleries allowing sufficient space to view the sculptures fully in the round. The exhibition brings together approximately 140 sculptures from Picasso’s entire career via loans from major public and private collections and includes 50 sculptures on loan from the Museee Picasso in Paris.
Still Life with Guitar
The galleries reveal works that have never been seen in New York before. Most of us know Pablo Picasso (1881-1973) as a painter and from the start he was an untrained sculptor and had a natural disregard for tradition. As a result his sculptures have a spontaneity that occupied a deeply personal place in his work. He approached sculpture with a sense of freedom and curiosity, creating innovative works that continue to intrigue us today.        
Of special note, in the second gallery, is the cardboard Guitar, a humble still life that employs the simple craft of cutting, folding and threading. This fragile sculpture reveals how Picasso, at this time unschooled in sculpture construction, used paperboard, paper, thread, string, twine and coated wire to create this work.
            Picasso’s monument for the tomb of the poet and critic Guillaume Apollinaire, who had died in 1918, may have been rejected at the time, but his complex works of welded metal, realized in collaboration with the sculptor Julio Gonzales, can best be described as Metamorphosis I and II, which Picasso’s art dealer, Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler, christened “drawings in space.”
           Beginning in 1933, began Picasso’s foray into collecting discarded everyday and materials objects to incorporate into such works as Head of a Warrior (1933) whose eyes began as tennis balls. He started imprinting plaster with found objects. The narrow ridges of corrugated cardboard, for example, served to articulate the drapery of Woman with Leaves and the Orator.
Vase Woman: Vallauris
Picasso was one of the few artists designated by the Germans as “degenerate” to remain in occupied Paris during World War II. Somehow he managed to obtain enough clay and plaster o produce a population of human and animal figures. Although bronze casting was prohibited, as precious metal was reserved for wartime purposes, Picasso had his sculptures secretly transported to and from the foundry by night. The largest work of this period is the seven-foot-tall Man with a Lamb. Picasso’s witty assemblage did not altogether disappear during these somber times. Bull’s Head (1942) caught my eye. It is simply a strategic pairing of a leather 
bicycle seat and a pair of metal handlebars, cast in bronze.
           After the liberation of Paris, Picasso renewed contact with the French Riviera and visited the ceramic workshop of George and Suzanne Ramie in the town of Vallauris and began to experiment in the ancient medium. He bought an abandoned perfume factory, which he converted to a studio and began making a series of assemblages created from a vast array of found objects. His most whimsical. He painted with glaze on ceramics in the shape of figures and animals.For further information. MoMA 212.708.9400,

Ta Ta Darlings!!!  Picasso never fails to amaze...don't miss this show. Fan mail welcome at Visit Polly's Blogs at and click on the links in the left-hand column.

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