Picasso exhibition opens Oct. 28 at Cleveland Museum of Art

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CLEVELAND – Pablo Picasso’s astonishing capacity for experimentation and self-renewal are celebrated in “Picasso: The Artist’s Studio,” a traveling exhibition organized by the Cleveland Museum of Art and the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Hartford, Conn.

The show will be on view at the Cleveland Museum of Art from Oct. 28 through Jan. 6. Admission will be by timed ticket.

Art giant. “Picasso has now entered the collective consciousness of our society as an admired giant of the 20th century,” notes museum director Katharine Lee Reid. “It is important not to overlook his early boldness and the astounding change that he brought to the world of art. He sought out the new, the areas of creativity in all aspects of the life of the artist. We come face to face with this in the upcoming exhibition.”

Unlike many modem artists who treated their studios as sanctuaries, Pablo Picasso (1881-1973) used his studio not only as a place of work, but as a social and intellectual center where he negotiated with dealers, enthralled collectors, argued with critics, discussed literature and portrayed lovers. The studio is a recurring theme throughout Picasso’s evolving art and constructions of self-identity.

Foreign collections. Nearly two-thirds of the approximately 36 paintings and all of the nine drawings featured in “Picasso: The Artist’s Studio” are loans from foreign collections.

Encompassing a large range of styles – realist, cubist, symbolist, surrealist, abstract and classical, the pictures span Picasso’s lengthy career, from as early as age 15 until two years before his death at age 91.

Early works include the oil study “Academic Nude” (1895-97) and the charcoal and pencil “Study of a Left Arm” (1894). The Blue Period masterpiece, “La Vie” (1903), from Cleveland Museum of Art’s collection, was Picasso’s first important painting on the artist’s studio theme. Other early works include “Self-Portrait with Palette” (1906); and the cubist painting “The Architect’s Table” (1912), which refers to American writer Gertrude Steins patronage.

Studio exploration. According to organizing curator Michael C. FitzGerald., associate professor of fine arts at Trinity College and author of “Making Modernism: Picasso and the Creation of the Market for Twentieth Century Art,” Picasso’s most intense exploration of the significance of the studio occurred during 1925-34 and in the last 18 years of his life, 1955-73.

“During the first phase, Picasso was inspired by the Surrealists” fascination with the unconscious to weave a complex series of images that delve into the creative process. Drawing on sources of inspiration as diverse as African tribal objects and Western Classical sculpture, he presented the artist in many guises – tribal shaman, Greek god, or vengeful Minotaur, among others – to convey the range and variety of artistic inspiration,” said FitzGerald.

Works from this period in the exhibition include “Bust and Palette” (1925), “Painter with Palette and Easel” (1928), “The Sculptor “(1931), and “Still Life with Bust, Bowl, and Palette (1932).

“In his last, most extended, phase of devotion to the subject of the artist’s studio, Picasso created dozens of paintings that move from realistic renderings of the rooms in which he worked to evocations of great artists of the past, and final confrontations with life’s passing,” FitzGerald concludes.

Examples include two works from the mid-1950s depicting the muse-like figure of his second wife, Jacqueline Roque, “Las Meninas, after Velazquez” (1957), one of many homages to 17th century Spanish painter Diego Velazquez, “Painter and Infant (1969), and the late self-portrait, “At Work (1971).

Admission. Admission to “Picasso: The Artist’s Studio” will be by timed ticket. General admission is $7; seniors, $6; students 13 to 18, $5; and free for CMA members and children 12 and under. Tickets are on sale now in person at the museum ticket center, by phone at 216-421-7350 or 1-888-CMA-0033, or on the Web at www.clevelandart.org.

An audio tour will be available for $5 for adults or $4 for CMA members, seniors, and children.

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Conservation research

Picasso is quoted as saying, “A picture is a sum of destructions.”

Unique to the Cleveland venue for “Picasso: The Artist’s Studio” will be a final room in which museum visitors can learn about some of his “destructions,” including the earlier paintings concealed under the Cleveland museum’s “La Vie” and “Harlequin with Violin (Si Tu Veux),” a major Cubist work of 1918 represented in this room by a photo reproduction.

Picasso’s working methods are revealed through x-radiography, infrared reflectography, and other forms of scientific analysis, all of which can help place a painting within an artist’s life’s work and help unlock its meanings.

An interactive computer display will enable visitors to select specific portions of the painting “La Vie” and view the images and discoveries that have been made in each section through x-rays and other investigations.

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Picture Picasso at work

Photographs by acclaimed photojournalist David Douglas Duncan will complement the “Picasso: The Artist’s Studio” exhibit at the Cleveland Museum of Art. “Picasso’s Studio: David Douglas Duncan Photographs” will open Oct. 13, remaining on view through Dec. 19.

Duncan met Pablo Picasso in 1956 and soon had free access to the artist’s studios and homes in Cannes, Vauvenargues and Mougins, France.

Duncan was able to photograph Picasso as he worked, a rare sight because the artist seldom did so before spectators. It will include 21 black-and-white prints revealing Picasso in his world of family, friends, and associates.

“David Douglas Duncan is one of the 20th century’s most outstanding photojournalists,” said Tom Hinson, the museum’s curator of photography. “He expertly captured Picasso’s moods and complexities. This is a rare opportunity to see how Picasso lived and worked.”

During their 17 years of friendship Duncan took approximately 10,000 photographs focusing on Picasso. These photographs feature the artist in his studios, which also functioned as living and dining spaces.

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Lectures complement Picasso exhibition

CLEVELAND – To complement the major international loan exhibition Picasso: The Artist’s Studio, Oct. 28 to Jan. 6, 2002, and related photography exhibitions, the Cleveland Museum of Art has recruited guest lecturers and staff to present events for all ages.

The centerpiece of the lecture series that will accompany the Picasso exhibition at the Cleveland Museum of Art will be the first Museum of Art appearance in several years of Rosamond Bernier, founder of the French art magazine “L’Oeil” and author of “Matisse, Picasso, Miro – As I Knew Them”.

He will speak on “Picasso: A Personal View” at 6:30 p.m., Nov. 9, as part of the exhibition’s Guest Lecture Series.

Tickets for the lecture are $25.

Other Guest Lectures will include:

* Oct. 28, 2 p.m., “Picasso: The Artist’s Studio,” by Michael FitzGerald from Trinity College, Hartford, Conn. FitzGerald is organizing curator of the exhibition and author of its catalog.

* Nov. 18, 2 p.m., “Posing in the Studio: Models in Paris, 1860-1920” by Marie Lathers, professor of humanities and French culture at Case Western Reserve University. Lathers has published on gender relationships between artists and models.

Dec. 9, 2 p.m., “The Sum of Destructions: Picasso’s Cultures mid the Creation of Cubism” by Natasha Staller from Amherst College in Massachusetts. Staller is one of the new generation of Picasso scholars, and is about ato publish a study of relationships between Picasso’s early life in Spain and the creation of Cubism.

Storytelling. Storyteller Anita Peeples will present two sessions of tales from Spain to explore the cultural heritage of Picasso’s homeland. They will be at 2 p.m. Nov. 18 and Dec. 16.

Videos. A series of video presentations will run for one week each. They will include:

* Oct. 23-29, “Picasso: A Painter’s Diary”;

* Nov. 6-12, “Days in the Life of Picasso”;

* Nov. 13-19, “Pablo Picasso: A Primitive Soul”;

* Nov. 20-26, “Picasso the Man and His Work 1881-1937 and 1937-1973″‘

* Nov. 27-Dec. 3, “Picasso War, Peace, Love”;

* Dec. 4-10, “New Ways of Seeing: Picasso, Braque and the Cubist Revolution”;

* Dec. 11-17, “The Picasso I Knew and Nobody Knew: Rosamond Bernier”;

* Dec. 18-24, “Pablo Picasso.”

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