“Devouring Paris”, between Amsterdam and Barcelona

On 29 May exhibition “Devouring Paris. Picasso 1900-1907” at the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam will close its doors and get ready to come to Barcelona, ??where it will open next June 30.

Catalog cover

The project grew out of the contact between the Museu Picasso and the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam on the occasion of the presentation of the exhibition Barcelona 1900 in 2007. During these last few years the two museums have worked together to develop and adapt the project, curated by Picasso expert Marilyn McCully.

Comprising close to a hundred works, mostly Picassos, but also some Van Goghs and pictures by other artists such as Toulouse-Lautrec, Gauguin, Matisse and Cézanne, the exhibition explores the changes that took place in the pictorial language of the young Picasso between his first trip to Paris in 1900 and 1907, the year he painted Les Demoiselles d’Avignon.

Jointly organizing an exhibition with another museum is a very enriching experience, both personally and professionally. The experience of seeing how people work in other art centres and what strategies are adopted in certain situations provides new insights and tools that one can integrate into one’s own practice.

Exhibition rooms in Amsterdam. Photo: Luuk Kramer

The two museums have in common the fact that each is dedicated to conserving, showing and studying the work of a single artist. This special focus means that the task of coordination goes beyond mere management to encompass the research and in-depth understanding of the artist’s work.

In our case, working on exhibitions about Picasso and his setting and context involves permanent contact with a number of public and private collections, and knowing which works they have and the people who look after them. Thus, one of the contributions we have made here in the Exhibitions Department at the Museu Picasso has been to provide contacts with these collections and help arrange the loan of works that may be difficult to get access to. At the same time, the mutual support between the two teams has been the most important factor in ensuring the various loans that have gone into the shows.

What’s more, working with an institution as prestigious as the Van Gogh Museum has made it possible for the catalogue to be published in five languages ??and distributed internationally, giving the project very high visibility.

We encourage you to come along to the exhibition and to trace the footsteps of the young Picasso in a Paris full of life, artists, cabarets and, above all, the stimuli that were to shape his search for an artistic language of his own.

Isabel Cendoya

Museu Picasso exhibition
Devouring Paris. Picasso 1900-1907

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