Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Picasso: He wanted to be a painter ...

Pablo Picasso / "Give me a museum and I'll fill it."

"Give me a museum and I'll fill it," said Pablo Picasso, arguably the most compelling figure of 20th century modern art.

The Spanish artist wanted to become a painter and, instead, he became Picasso.

"Picasso: Masterpieces from the Musee National Picasso, Paris" is an exhibition of "Picasso's Picassos." An extraordinary group of 150 paintings, sculptures, drawings and prints are currently on display in a special exhibition at the de Young Fine Arts Museum in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park through Oct. 9.

Portrait of Dora Maar
(Oil on canvas, 1937)
It's a good month for Picasso lovers as "The Steins Collect: Matisse, Picasso, and the Parisian Avant-Garde," an exhibition showcasing the collections of Gertrude Stein and her siblings, major figures in the early 20th century Bohemian Paris, is on display at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art through Sept. 6. Among the 40 Picasso highlights are: Lady With a Fan and Boy Leading a Horse.

Earlier this month, I took the opportunity to visit the de Young to gaze at the genius of Picasso and see for myself why looking at a painting by Picasso is like a form of magic.

Among the many memorable moments for me were: The Spanish Civil War and The Weeping Woman, Portrait of Dora Maar, Still Life with Pitcher and Apples, The Matador, and my favorite, Chat saisissant un oiseau (Cat Catching a Bird).

A Picasso quote that appeared overhead in one of the gallery rooms read: "Painting is just another way of keeping a diary." Another spelled out: "Painting is stronger than me. It makes me do what it wants."

Picasso at the de Young / A fresh, revealing perspective 

Well, I am happy to say that I came away with a new, refreshing and revealing perspective of Picasso.

The man could paint.

"It took me four years to paint like Raphael but a lifetime to paint like a child," said Picasso.

And, little did I realize until that lively Friday evening, Picasso had a sense of humor, too.

1 comment:

  1. Picasso, such a complex man. This year I saw the Picasso "Guitars 1912-1914" show at MoMA. I thought it was a good show for all ages because you saw how he took found objects and made abstract guitars from them. Sorry to have missed this show in S.F.!