Essays by James Hyman

Picasso: artist of the century

Picasso: artist of the century


Curator: James Hyman
Catalogue and essay: James Hyman
Kunsthal, Rotterdam, Holland


In 1918 the French poet Guillaume Apollinaire wrote of his friend Pablo Picasso:

`he has vastly extended the realm of art in the most unexpected ways, where surprises bob up like a toy rabbit beating a drum in the middle of a highway.' *

Today these elements of invention and surprise remain at the heart of our appreciation of Picasso. They are celebrated in Picasso: artist of the centuyy, through five thematic sections that are guided by chronology.

Nature Morte brings together some of Picasso's most substantial and refined tabletop still life paintings. It ranges from the innovations of the Blue Period and Cubism, to the sensuality of the 1930s and the anguish of the 1940s.

Les Femmes assembles major paintings of the important women in Picasso's life. It ranges from the eroticism of Marie-Thérèse Walter to the anxiety of Dora Maar, and from the vitality of Françoise Gilot to the grandeur of Jacqueline.

La Famille includes some of Picasso's most charming and lively paintings of his children and family. It ranges from the artist's first son, Paulo, dressed as Pierrot from 1923 to Paloma playing with her toys thirty years later.

Classique et Romantique presents monumental paintings in which Picasso sought to surpass all the artistic achievements that had come before him. It includes Picasso `s Neoclassicism of the 1 920s, his ambitious Femmes d'Alger from the 1950s and the exhuberent Dejeuner sur l'herbe from the 1960s.

L'atelier celebrates the immense vitality of Picasso's later years. It includes paintings of the studio at La Californie from the 1950s and the climactic Le peintre et son modéle series of 1963.

Picasso's achievements were extraordinary. This exhibition, spanning the century, is a tribute to his incredible creative energy.

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