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The Museo Picasso Málaga, presents, on its first anniversary, Picasso. Anthology (1895-1971), a selection of 132 works by Pablo Ruiz-Picasso that come from the collections of the Museu Picasso, Barcelona; Musée National Picasso, Paris; Fundación Almine y Bernard Ruiz-Picasso and a private collection.

This exhibition proposes a vision of Picasso’s oeuvre through different processes and themes that the artist met throughout his life.

The exhibited pieces, including paintings, drawings, sculptures and ceramics, illustrate the variety and complexity of the plastic language used by the artist, who evolved constantly during his prolific career. This anthology, one of many that can be used to represent Picasso’s work, dates mainly to the artist’s beginnings, where we find a formal repertoire that would have, just like Cubism, a lasting effect on his entire artistic career.

The way in which the pieces are exhibited, in groups united by common formal elements, shows the constant dialogue that Picasso had with his own work and how particular shapes and figures that were present in the works of his youth became part of his stylistic explorations and eventually turned into a constant reference. But this dialogue takes place not only with his own work but also with that of other artists. Portrait of a Young Man with Arms Crossed and Portrait of Sabartés, both dated 1899, are two of a series of portraits that Picasso painted of the people around him, just as Ramón Casas was carrying out a number of portraits of the Catalan intelligentsia with whom he related, at that time. In spite of the similarity, the portraits by Picasso can be told apart because they are marked by an in-depth psychological study.

Landscape with Two Figures, 1908, reveals a Picasso who had studied Paul Cézanne. The spatial structure framed by the two dominant verticals of the trees, between which we can hardly make out two naked figures, strongly evokes Cézanne’s Bathers series. The references not only relate to Cézanne, as it wouldn’t be far fetched to also see allusions to Gauguin in the way in which the two figures seem to merge with Nature.

Women Playing Ball on the Beach, 1932, a small canvas from a series that Picasso carried out in Boisgeloup, epitomizes extraordinary freedom and, to a certain degree, anticipates the surrealist works that Pollock carried out just before he created his drip paintings. The simile with the American artist is not superfluous. Alfred H. Barr, Jr. was referring to Picasso’s collages, but we could easily apply it to these works, as he considers them to be the result of the impulse towards abstraction that took place at the beginning of the twentieth century.

In Woman Writing a Letter, 1936, Picasso uses both Seurat’s pointillist style, and a subdivision of planes of light, created by sinuous lines enclosing the different levels of brightness on the figure, just as in Woman with Arms Raised, dated in the same year (MPM Collection). This way of separating the variations of light recalls the triangular planes marking different light sources in the Guernica, 1937, MNCARS, Madrid.

Related Exhibition

Picasso. Anthology (1895-1971)