Picasso at the Met

Where does the time go?  It’s the middle of November and I still have lots of photos and information to share from my art trip to New York last June.  The good thing is one can look at and comment on art any time – great art speaks to the universal and remains relevant over many years and centuries.

pablo picassoThis past summer 2010, for the first time ever, the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art  showed their entire collection of Picasso’s paintings, drawings and sculptures.

Picasso was born in Spain but spent most of his adult life in France.  His father, also an artist, recognized his son’s gift at an early age and actively encouraged Picasso in his art career.  He lived from 1881-1973, first catching public attention around 1902 and working right up until the end of his life.

picasso still lifeI must admit that Picasso isn’t my favorite artist, but walking through this huge collection of his work left me inspired.  The exhibit covered many different periods.  It allowed me to see how Picasso’s work changed and developed over time; how new influences and experiences shaped his drawings and paintings.

picasso early portraitPicasso was astoundingly prolific, producing a huge body of work over his long life.  The total number of artworks he produced has been estimated at 50,000, comprising 1,885 paintings; 1,228 sculptures; 2,880 ceramics, roughly 12,000 drawings, many thousands of prints, and numerous tapestries and rugs.  Wow! What a giant of an artist he was.

Most are familiar with his part in the development of Cubism.  In cubist art, objects are broken up, analyzed, and re-assembled in an abstracted form, showing the objects from a multitude of viewpoints at the same time.  But Picasso, with such a long career, had many other periods of work such as the Blue Period, the Rose Period, classicism and surrealism.

cranach portrait of a woman

Luca Cranach, Portrait of a Woman, 1564







I found it very interesting how Picasso valued and emulated the work of great artists who went before him.  One of his first and most complex linocuts, was inspired by the work of  Lucas Cranach II.

In Picasso’s print, Portrait of a Woman after Lucas Cranach II, Picasso invented a new way of printing a multi colored image from a single block, known as the reductive linocut.

picasso after cranach

Portrait of a Woman after Lucas Cranach II, Picasso

In 1932, Picasso wrote this note to himself concerning his response to seeing Manet’s masterpiece, Le déjeuner sur l’herbe – “I tell myself, tribulations for later.”  Close to thirty years later, Picasso would explore this great painting in 140 drawings, 27 paintings, and 4 linoleum cuts.

Here is the painting by Manet.


Here are two of the lino cuts from the Met’s collection.

picasso after manet

picasso after manet


Picasso, always the lady’s man, maintained a number of mistresses in addition to his wife or primary partner.  He was married twice and had four children by three women.  The women in his life are memorialized for all time in his art work.  Erotic elements can be seen in his art throughout his career.  The last room of the exhibit had a series of prints he created in his 80’s, many of which are very erotic.picasso nudepicasso erotic linocut





I left the exhibit with a renewed respect for Picasso.  It was wonderful to see the wide variety of his work laid out chronologically.


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