Love coming to Liverpool and this is such a beautiful place with little gems to explore.
This season, they get have three setssof Linocuts from 1962 and it is really fascinating to see how Picasso developed the image through this method.
Rather than do the traditional sightseeing in Venice, I made a beeline for the Peggy Guggenheim Collection and how happy I am with that decision.
Here are some of my favourite pieces:
Picasso – On the Beach
Giacometti -Piazza and Woman Walking
There I was watching the fabulous Alastair Sooke going through 'The World's Most Expensive Paintings' and when he gets to the top three, there he is sitting in a restaurant with two still life Picassos behind him:
He was at the 2 Michelin star restaurant, Picasso, in The Bellagio in Las Vegas. Almost fell off my chair! Here was an opportunity not to be missed. We're going to Vegas ergo, we go to Picasso. So a reservation was made for the last evening in Vegas.
As we walked in, there was a huge oil painting of Picasso with his grandson to greet us and, as you can see from this publicity photograph, it was not the only one. In total, they hold 11 works by the great man. We were seated underneath 'Seated Man' which Picasso painted when he was 90 -a self portrait showing him as a scarred and wounded warrior.
Thoroughout the restaurant there were still lifes, drawings and painted ceramic works, such as this one of Le Dejeuner sur l'herbe. This was on the opposite side of the restaurant to us and its vibrancy shone out -definitely my favourite.
The meal was sublime and served on ceramic plates with Picasso designs. I had seen similar plates at Leicester's New Walk Art Gallery where Richard Attenborough's Picasso ceramic collection is displayed.
Our waiter was wonderful and at the end of the meal, I plucked up the courage to ask what he could tell me about the art works. He was delighted to help and fetched the information folder for me which certainly aided digestion! He insisted that I take a look round and to photograph everything. Inwardly I was jumping up and down but managed to keep the air of sophistication that had been my cover all evening…I mean, you don't want to give away your fan girl credentials when paying hundreds of dollars for a four course fine dining experience.
Sooke questioned whether it is right to be using such works as 'wallpaper' and while my aesthetic side might agree, I have to say that I think it would have tickled the old reprobate to have the works on display like this.
Most people travel to Vegas to gamble, party and generally misbehave. However, for the purposes of art, I went to see a few works by PP as well as doing the proverbial! And here it is, in the lovely Bellagio Hotel.
There are two parts to this post because, not only did I visit an exhibition of previously unseen works, I also grabbed a bite to eat at the fine dining experience in Picasso’s at the Belaggio where there are 11-yes, 11 Picasso paintings and ceramic works on display.
PART ONE: Picasso, Creatures and Creativity
This exhibition explores Picasso’s thought processes as he worked in different media -painting an printmaking and follows his favourite theme of the human body. The 43 pieces consisted of 19 lithographs, 13 linocuts, 8 paintings and 3 rare plates.
“It is not sufficient to know an artist’s works-it is also necessary to know when he did them, why, how and under what circumstances”
Picasso’s focus on his current muse drives this exhibition as all of the main women in his life are represented here and all of the works are fully dated so we know exactly what was happening at the time.
The first painting you come across is one that has not been seen before, with the snappy title of ‘Left profile of a woman with a blue hat’. This painting is of Dora Maar, Picasso’s muse during the 1930s. Maar’s dark and angular features were a strong contrast with Picasso’s lover at the time, Marie-Therese Walter, and you can see the way Picasso has reduced Maar’s face to a series of geometric planes. He gives us both her profile and full face with the eyes causing us to flip views.
This portrait, ‘Woman in a yellow necklace’, was inspired by a meeting with Matisse -ever the rival, Matise was so taken with Francoise, that he suggested painting her. Picasso was having none of this and so produced this incredible work. Picasso used Matisse’s palette of vegetable green and cool blue. The face and neck were formed gheough the keyhole shape that was significant to Picasso. Francoise’s abundant hair is clearly her ‘crowning glory’ and Picasso’s loose brush strokes are evident here; almost as a caress, Francoise’s almond eyes, aquiline nose and sensuous mouth are evident, and the date of this painting, 31 May 1946, was also the week that she agreed to live with him.
Francoise’s gaze is so direct. It seems obvious that she was his whole existence at this point.
As mentioned earlier, there were also lithographs here which were interesting to see how he built up an idea and this method of peonting allowed him to make revisions as he went. None more so than the 18 part series of lithographs, ‘Two Nude Women’ from February 12 1946. The date is significant as it was around this time that Picasso was moving away his relationship with Dora Maar and moving along with Francoise.
The series began with a seated nude alongside a sleeping one. It became obvious that the sleeping figure was that of Dora, while the seated figure took on the characteristics of his new love, Francoise. It was also clear that Picasso was using the figures of Goya’s ‘La Naja desnudes’ as well as Manet’s Le Dejeuner sur l’herbe.
As the series was printed, Picasso lept making revisions, moving into a more abstract view of the two women, taking their features and distorting them in such a way as to make them invisible, especially Maar who, by the end, is completely unrecognisable whereas Francoise’s figure moves to catch our gaze.
I watched this BBC documentary by the lovely Alaistair Sooke from 2011 yesterday: The World’s Most Expensive Paintings
The most expensive painting at the time was the glorious Nude, Green Leaves and Bust by Picasso which I got to see back in April at Tate Modern.
Here are the current top ten most expensive paintings in the world! Looks like the change down the back of the sofa won’t be much use here: http://www.theartwolf.com/10_expensive.htm
At Museu Picasso, I walked in on this wonderful canvas of Las Meninas. Hadn’t seen it before and was fascinated by Picasso’s obsession with the original by Velazquez.
Picasso, over a matter of a few months, recreating, reinterpreted and examined every aspect of the original painting. All 58 canvases are at the museum and they were worth spending time with.
This article from the BBC is useful background on the original painting:
and this is an incredible site which interprets Picasso’s work quite intently!
This link is also rather lovely:
Safe to say that a copy of this is going in my office tomorrow as a reminder of a fantastic trip to a beautiful city.
Am sitting in the bar of my hotel (get her) and pondering on what I saw today.
The Museum is one of the loveliest buildings I have been to…and I’ve been to a few! The exhibition was beautifully curated with comparison pieces throughout. My notebook is full of information and if I translated that into one post, it would be on the scale of an epic novel.
Therefore, this needs to be a short exploration of how Picasso influenced Dali in a way that made him fly rather than this being a mutual development of style. What I saw was that Picasso had his own way that developed over time, but that, for a time, Dali became a follower but then changed his direction from flattery to his own unique interpretations.
But, when Dali’s embrace of surrealism takes over, we see how much Picasso and the cubists were a starting point for him. I loved this pairing as, for once, Dali came first but it is the differences that are so noticeable. Picasso is continuing to distill the physical form into its component parts but Dali’s painting is now embodying the surrealists aspects we associate with him. Floating breasts, donkey with hands, and other symbolist images. This was my second favourite Dali painting -more on that in another post.
I was so excited about coming here to see this exhibition and was not disappointed. Think I have enough material to write several posts and would dearly like to come back again.
Sitting at Frankfurt Airport with nothing to do, thank goodness for free wifi and this Wall Street Journal review of the Picasso-Dali exhibition when it was in St Petersburg:
Just for once I’m going to agree with Jonathan Jones. No, he wasn’t, in my humble opinion.