Continuing the policy of exchanges of the Museum with other museums and institutions of prestige, from January 26th to June 20th we will be presenting – in THE GALLERY 16 – three paintings from the last period of Pablo Picasso, property of the Lousiana Museum of Modern Art of Humlebaek, Denmark.
The presentation of these three oil paintings represents a complement to our collection so as to be able to understand the creative process, the vitality and the spirit of renovation and provocation of the artist right up to the end.
Pablo Picasso. Woman and pipe-player II. Cannes, April 18th, 1956. Oil on canvas. 93 x 120 cm. Lousiana Museum of Modern Art, Humlebaek, Dinamarca. Donation: The New Carslberg Foundation, The Augustinus Foundation and The Louisiana Foundation
Pablo Picasso. Reclining man and squatting woman. Cannes, 18th April, 1956. Litografia. Lithograph. Lithographic crayon transferred to stone, printed on Arches vellum watermarked paper (Sabartés proof)). 50 x 65,5 cm (paper). Gift of Jaume Sabartés, 1962. MPB 70.039. Museu Picasso, Barcelona. Photograph, Gasull Fotografia
In 1946, the contact with the Mediterranean would open up a new dimension in the work of Picasso. A series of paintings would appear in which pastoral scenes would proliferate: fauns, centaurs, bucolic couples. Using different signs and diverse techniques – paintings, drawings, ceramics and sculptures, the artist created his own homage to the “joy of living” and the evocation of an idyllic world from the past.
In line with this, on April 18th 1956 Picasso focused on the presentation of the female figure lying down, alongside a masculine figure seated. In just one day, he produced three paintings and two lithographs about this theme: the prints form part of the collection of the museum, and are exhibited in the same room. Although in the first paintings the woman lying down and the man seated are located on a beach (Homme et femme sur la plage, The Leicester Galleries), in the two lithographs and the oil painting here we show the move of the composition to the country, and in the oil painting, he places the male character playing an aulos (a wind instrument), so as to achieve in this way a more bucolic and melancholic image.
The transfer of themes, motifs, styles and iconographies from one technique to another is a constant in the work of Picasso. It is therefore not strange that, in these moments, painting and lithography share the fact of being protagonists, scenarios and stylistic experimentations.
In 1956 Picasso continued working intensively on lithography. While his first skirmishes with this technique took place between 1919 and 1930, it wouldn’t be until after the Second World War that he would fully develop this technique. In 1945, Picasso and the lithographic printer Fernand Mourlot began a close collaboration which would last until 1969.
Pablo Picasso. Le déjeneur sur l’herbe. Mougins, 30th July, 1961. Oil on canvas. 130 x 97 cm. Lousiana Museum of Modern Art, Humlebaek, Dinamarca. Donation: The Picasso Foundation and The Louisiana Foundation
Pablo Picasso. Le déjeuner sur l’herbe, after Manet. I. Mougins, 26th January, 1962 and 13th March, 1962. Gouge, in six colours, on linoleum plate, printed on Arches vellum watermarked paper (Sabartés proof, V and final state). 53.1 x 64 cm (plate); 61.7 x 75.1 cm (paper). Gift of Jaume Sabartés, 1964. MPB 70.315. Museu Picasso, Barcelona. Photograph, Gasull Fotografia
Pablo Picasso. Petit Déjeuner sur l’herbe, after Manet. Mougins, 22nd April, 1962. Gouge and knife, in four colours, on linoleum plate, printed on Arches vellum watermarked paper (Sabartés proof, III and final state). 34.9 x 27.1 cm (plate); 62.5 x 44.1 cm (paper). Gift of Jaume Sabartés, 1964. MPB 70.305. Museu Picasso, Barcelona. Photograph, Gasull Fotografia
The interest of Picasso in the works of other artists from the past would be manifested throughout his life, but it was in the decade of the 1950s when he started the major interpretations of certain paintings, the most important of these being the variations of Les femmes d’Alger by Delacroix ( 1834), Las Meninas by Velázquez (1656), Le Déjeneur sur l’herbe by Manet (1863) and El rapto de las sabinas by Poussin (1635). When Picasso looked at the composition of the maestros from the past, he didn’t do so with the intention of producing simple copies or literal transpositions, but he used them to release the creative spirit of his imagination.
Picasso worked on the series about Le Déjeneur sur l’herbe of Manet from August 1959 to June 1962, and he carried it out in three different studios: Vauvenargues, La Californie and Notre-Dame-de-Vie. It is made up of twenty-seven paintings, more than 150 drawings, 6 engravings on linoleum, one drypoint, one lithography, and 18 cardboard boxes for sculpture.
The work that we present belongs to the sub-group produced between July 10th and the beginning of August 1961. Picasso centred his look on the character called “le causeur” (“the conservator”) and the two women, removing the other masculine character, while changing the format from horizontal to vertical and mutating the palette to a symphony of greens.
Along with this work, we will be exhibiting a selection of engravings about Le Déjeneur sur l’herbe, belonging to our collection and that are a clear example of the fact that Picasso the artist or interpreter is also manifested in his graphic work, as well as being a clear exponent of the transfers between techniques that we mentioned above. Within the series, as well as the paintings, drawings and cardboard boxes for sculpture, we can find a series of engravings produced with three different techniques: drypoint (direct incision intaglio engraving), lithography (flat engraving) and linocuts (engraving in relief).
In this constant dialogue between tradition and modernity, Picasso offers a deep affinity and true respect for the plein air invoked by the painting of Manet, a painter who he had admired since his youth.
Pablo Picasso. The card player II. Mougins, 30th December, 1971. Oil on canvas. 114 x 146 cm. Lousiana Museum of Modern Art, Humlebaek, Dinamarca. Donation: The New Carslberg Foundation
This work, which took part in the exhibition of the Palais des Papes of Avignon in 1973, includes in just one image all the symbolic ideology of Picasso. The man in a hat is simultaneously, the old painter, the bullfighter and the musketeer, and at the same time characteristic elements of the cubist works also appear, such as the jug, the glass and the playing cards.
As in all of the works from this period, it was executed with vehemence, with almost shorthand styles, using thick and fluid paint, with daubing, fillings and leaving a visible print of the brush. The boldness of the themes and the freedom of the workmanship contrasts with the Mediterranean placidity and balance of the works from the previous decade. The vitality and rapid execution of the later works reveal the sense of urgency of the artist at the end of his life.
CHANGES IN THE GALLERIES OF THE PERMANNENT COLLECTION
In the Gallery 1 we can once again see the portrait of The artist’s mother, Barcelona, 1896, pastel on paper (MPB 110.016) as well as another portrait of the mother produced in a sketchpad during his period in La Coruña.
Pablo Picasso. The artist’s mother . Barcelona, 1896. Pastel on paper. 49,8 x 39 cm. Gift of Pablo Picasso, 1970. MPB 110.016. Museu Picasso, Barcelona. Photograph, Gasull Fotografia
In Gallery 2 we are exhibiting two oil paintings entitled Portrait of an unknown man, (MPB110.051 and 110.061) produced in Barcelona in 1897, and which have recently been restored.
Pablo Picasso. Portrait of an unknown man. Barcelona, March 1897. Oil on canvas. 63,5 x 39 cm (irregular). Gift of Pablo Picasso, 1970. MPB 110.051. Museu Picasso, Barcelona. Photograph, Gasull Fotografia
In Gallery 4, Self-portrait in a wig is removed (MPB 110.053) due to a temporary loan, and in its place we will be exhibiting Man in El Greco style (MPB 110.034)
Pablo Picasso. Man, after El Greco. Barcelona, c. 1899. Oil on canvas. 34,5 x 31,2 cm (irregular). Gift of Pablo Picasso, 1970. MPB 110.034. Museu Picasso, Barcelona. Photograph, Gasull Fotografia /h6>
Gallery 5 is dedicated to the Menu of Quatre Gats, with all its preparatory drawings.
In Gallery 6 we can see exhibited once again The end of the performance (MPB 4.270) and La diseuse (MPB 4.276), produced in Paris, 1901.
Pablo Picasso. The end of the performance. París, 1901. Pastel on canvas. 73 x 47 cm. Given by the Barcelona City Council, 1963. MPB 4.270. Museu Picasso, Barcelona. Photograph, Gasull Fotografia | Pablo Picasso. La diseuse. París, 1901. Charcoal and pastel on paper. 47 x 30 cm. Given by the Barcelona City Council, 1963. MPB 4.276. Museu Picasso, Barcelona. Photograph, Gasull Fotografia
In Gallery 11 a selection of engravings are exhibited, produced between 1925 and 1934, in which it can be observed how Picasso shared iconographic models during these years.
Galleries 15 and 16 are being modified due to the location of the worked loaned by the Louisiana Museum. El piano (MPB 70.472) moves to Gallery 15.
Pablo Picasso. The piano. Canes, 17th October, 1957. Oil on canvas. 130 x 96 cm. Gift of Pablo Picasso, 1968. MPB 70.472.Museu Picasso, Barcelona. Photograph, Gasull Fotografia
Malén Gual, conservator of the collection
Claustre Rafart, conservator of engravings