Review :: Picasso: Masterpieces from the Musee National Picasso, Paris

December 15th 2011

Les baigneurs (The bathers)



He was a master of modern art. He was also a master of connecting with art from the past. Yes, a stark contradiction, but perhaps a contradiction that perfectly captures the spirit and artistic tendencies of Spain’s most famous painter. Two words: Pablo Picasso.

AGNSW’s latest blockbuster, Picasso: Masterpieces from the Musee National Picasso is an exhibition offering a rare perspective on the life and work of the iconic mastermind. We may think that everything about Picasso has been exhausted by many an art historian, but this time round we’re given a slightly different angle. The works in this exhibition are not simply those from private collections, museums or corporate trusts – they’re works pulled straight from the artists possession himself. These, in other words, are Picasso’s Picassos’.

Seeing these gems in the flesh is definitely, special. When you stumble across 'Portrait of Dora Maar', of whom was the artists surrealist photographer and writer friend, you can’t help but be struck by the intense blending of exterior and interiors, gazing at 'Man with a Guitar' will instill an appreciation of Cezanne’s influence over Picasso’s cubist agenda, and 'The Reader' will help you acknowledge the artists fondness for surrealism.

Systematically charting Picasso’s stylistic and philosophical developments over the span of his artistic career, the exhibition stands as a pristine catalogue of modern life. Drawing inspiration from the underbelly of society, Picasso’s work centralizes around raw emotional expression and perhaps the essence of the show lies in the words of he himself whoonce proclaimed, “I paint the way some people write an autobiography. The paintings, finished or not, are the pages from my diary.”


What:  Picasso: Masterpieces from the Musee National Picasso 

Where: Art Gallery NSW

When: now until March 25 2012

How much: $18 concession / $25 adult


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