Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Picasso At the Fondation Beyeler

Detail from Pablo Picasso’s “Crouching Woman.”
I spent several minutes in front of this painting
feeling the heaviness of her shadowed closed eyes. 

Today I took in the Picasso exhibit at the Fondation Beyeler in Basel, Switzerland. I have not seen an exhibit that more moved me than this one. It was exquisite even with the teeming crowds who were viewing.  

Picasso’s “Celestina,” 1903

The exhibit features paintings and sculptures by Pablo Picasso from 1901 through 1906—his Blue and Rose periods. These works represent the emergence of a signature style that established Picasso as a figurative painter.  Although these works are interesting and moving, it was the juxtaposition of the moody, somber and melancholy monochromatic Blue period paintings (1901-1904) with the lighter subject matter and pallet of the Rose period paintings (1904-1906) that caused me to think about the young man  and his times. I seemed to have forgotten that Picasso was just a man in his young 20s when he painted these works. 

Seeing the works together and contextualized allowed me to also see the genius who was so vulnerable and so resilient. 


Picasso’s “Acrobat and the Young Harlequin,” 1905
Towards the end of the exhibit there is a brief slide show that contextualizes Picasso’s work with the historical period. As I viewed painting after painting, I wondered how it was that he could see so differently from the historical times in which he lived. I enjoy art for many reasons. One reason though is that artists’ works often cause me to see the world differently. It is as if each painting offered a different way of seeing the ordinary. This was certainly true of this exhibit. 

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