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Myth of Pablo Picasso as a lone genius creator' unmasked

23/06/2022

Myth of Pablo Picasso as a lone genius creator' unmaskedPablo Picasso served as the centre of several creative hubs, though the famous artist rarely acknowledged his creative collaborators.

by The Conversation

23-06-2022 18:21

in Art and Artists

Pablo Picasso as we have never seen him before he was not a lone genius creator: Image: Adobe stock

Review: Melbourne Winter Masterpieces exhibition 2022: The Picasso Century, NGV International.

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The Picasso Century exhibition presents Picasso as we have never seen him before.

Pablo Picasso (1881-1973) is not presented as the lone genius creator - a mythology promoted by the artist himself - but as being at the centre of several creative hubs. He was surrounded by groups of brilliant creative men and women and his influence was a powerful presence for the whole 20th century.

In his life, Picasso rarely acknowledged his creative collaborators, this exhibition sets out to redress this omission.

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The great French poet, critic and art collector Guillaume Apollinaire, wrote of his friend Picasso:

His insistence of the pursuit of beauty has changed everything in art [ ] The great revolution of the arts, which he has achieved almost unaided, was to make the world his new representation of it.

Leo Stein, another of Picasso's friends and patrons, when writing on the rivalry between Picasso and Matisse observed:

Matisse saw himself in relation to others and Picasso stood apart, alone. He recognised others, of course, but as belonging to another system, there was no fusion.

Some people may not like the phallocentric persona of Picasso but he did effectively change the course of western art and, in the process, changed the way in which we see the world.

--

Pablo Picasso Spanish 1881-1973. Weeping woman 1937, oil on canvas, 55.2 x 46.2 cm. National Gallery of Victoria. Purchased by donors of The Art Foundation of Victoria, with the assistance of the Jack and Genia Liberman family, Founder Benefactor, 1986.

Succession Picasso/Copyright Agency, 2022 Photo: NGV Picasso and his contemporaries Picasso affected the art of his friends and contemporaries, as well as that of those who never met him.

Although Apollinaire described him as achieving a revolution in the arts almost unaided and for Stein Picasso stood apart , in reality Picasso also reflected the cultural and intellectual milieu that surrounded him.

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This very ambitious multifaceted exhibition sets out to define Picasso's voice during his long career through a selection of over 80 of his works, many quite major and never previously seen in this country. It also investigates his interactions with his surrounding cultural milieu.

Pablo Picasso Spanish 1881-1973. Portrait of a woman (Portrait de femme) 1938 oil on canvas, 98.0 x 77.5 cm. 116.5 x 96.3 cm (framed) Centre Pompidou, Paris, Mus e national d'art moderne-Centre de cr ation industrielle Gift of the artist, 1947.

Succession Picasso/Copyright Agency, 2022 Photo Centre Pompidou, MNAM- CCI/Georges Meguerditchian/Dist. RMN-GP The Picasso paintings, graphics, sculptures and ceramics are accompanied by about 100 works by more than 50 of his contemporaries to create a context through which his significance can be assessed.

Apart from Apollinaire, the contemporaries considered include Georges Braque, Salvador Dal , Alberto Giacometti, Andr Masson, Juan Gris, Henri Matisse, Dorothea Tanning, Natalia Goncharova, Julio Gonz lez, Wifredo Lam, Suzanne Valadon and Joan Mir .

A large, curious and little-known painting hanging near the entrance of the exhibition, Marie Laurencin's Apollinaire and his friends (2nd version) (1909) from the Centre Pompidou.

Marie Laurencin, French 1883-1956. Apollinaire and his friends (2nd version) (Apollinaire et ses amis [2 me version]) 1909 oil on canvas. 130.0 x 194.0 cm. Centre Pompidou, Paris, Mus e national d'art moderne-Centre de cr ation industrielle. Donated in lieu of tax, 1973.

Fondation Foujita/ADAGP. Copyright Agency, 2022 Photo Centre Pompidou, MNAM- CCI/Audrey Laurans/Dist. RMN-GP The painting shows Apollinaire with Picasso looking over his shoulder and surrounded by a number of figures including Gertrude Stein, Fernande Olivier, Marguerite Gillot, Maurice Cremnitz as well as Laurencin herself in the foreground in a pale blue dress. Stein, on the left, appears in the role of one of the three inspirational graces or Muses.

Apollinaire admired this painting and had it positioned over the head of his bed for much of his life.

Picasso was to paint portraits of many in this grouping, including that of Apollinaire who was amongst the first to recognise the significance of cubism and collected Picasso's work. Picasso was to refer to Apollinaire in jest as the pope of cubism .

Traversing artistic eras In the exhibition, there are a number of iconic Picasso paintings, including his Portrait of a man (1902-03), a classic work from his so-called blue period .

Pablo Picasso, Spanish 1881-1973. Portrait of a man (Portrait d'homme) winter 1902-03, oil on canvas, 93.0 x 78.0 cm/ Mus e national Picasso-Paris Donated in lieu of tax, 1979.

Succession Picasso/Copyright Agency, 2022 Photo RMN-Grand Palais (Mus e national Picasso-Paris) / Mathieu Rabeau It is a brooding and introspective image where the tone defined an epoch.

Dated a few year later is the memorable Mother and child oil painting from the summer of 1907 that already speaks of primitivism and the radical formal transformation evident in the Les Demoiselles d'Avignon (1907) that was to become a defining moment in the course of western art.

Pablo Picasso, Spanish 1881-1973. Mother and child (M re et enfant) summer 1907, oil on canvas, 81.0 x 60.0 cm. Mus e national Picasso-Paris Donated in lieu o
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