Wednesday, September 7, 2011

September 7, 2011 – Pieces of Picasso

Today I finally got to the de Young to see the Picasso mega-show. Even as a museum member, seeing these hyped up shows is a challenge due to the crowds. I’ve learned that mornings, mid week are the key, if you have the time. Anyone who has been to enough art museums over the years has probably seen their share of Picassos. He had a long and prolific career. With such a huge body of work, even some of the smaller and flung art museums around the world often have a Picasso.

We always benefit when museums are under renovation and the collection takes a road trip around the planet. The show at the de Young is a treasure trove of work from the Musée National Picasso in Paris. Having seen Picasso’s work in many museums, including the SFMoMA and the Legion of Honor did not prepare me for this show. The ability to see a large amount work spanning a lifetime is a very different museum experience. It’s not the same as looking in an art book or seeing a handful of pieces in one museum.

The five things I took away from seeing it all at once were:

  1. A real insight into Picasso’s artistic development and earlier work. So many pieces did not “look” like a Picasso. Who knew he even painted a lighthouse.
  2. A much better understanding of artists who influenced his work and the subsequent artists he continues to influence.
  3. It never fails to surprise how much vivid paintings can be in person. Even familiar works like his 1937 Portrait of Dora Maar are surprising. Colors that border on day-glo at times.
  4. In case you hadn’t figured it out yet — Picasso was a boob man. He loved ‘em, really, really, loved them.
  5. And, a few postcards for today’s piece for the 2011 Project were purchased as we exited through the gift shop.

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