February 29, 2016
By Meridee Duddleston
An exhibition of paintings, drawings, ballet costumes, and more—on display at the Barnes Foundation—captures a shift in the vision of one of the 20th century’s best-known and influential artists. WRTI's Meridee Duddleston reports on a current show revolving around Pablo Picasso, an artist who continually surprised the critics, the public, and his compatriots.
Picasso: The Great War, Experimentation and Change is now at the Barnes Foundation until May 9, 2016.
[MUSIC: From the ballet Parade, Erik Satie, from the CD Picasso, Les Musiques]
Meridee Duddleston: Search for the Picasso you know, and a Picasso you didn’t know—or expect—is sure to emerge.
Martha Lucy: You talk about Picasso’s work in periods usually—Blue, Rose, even cubism is divided into phases, but then you get to this period and there’s no name to describe it, because he’s all over the place.
MD: Barnes curator Martha Lucy is referring to the time between 1912 and 1924 when the famous artist took yet another turn.
ML: He’s going back and forth between cubism and classicism and trying out different forms of cubism. We’re sort of calling it the works that Picasso did around the time of World War I.
MD: The artwork augments the 46 mostly earlier Picassos in the Barnes collection, and engenders a fuller picture of the artist and the man. A realistic portrait of his wife Olga; disjointed shards of cubist figures, alongside his later naturalistic images, which, says independent curator Simonetta Fraquelli, particularly upset those who anticipated something more contemporary.
Simonetta Fraquelli: Especially his avant-garde friends. They were shocked, and they say, “Why are you seemingly turning your back on this more modernist trend and going backwards?”
MD: Picasso was enticed to design costumes for Erik Satie’s 1917 ballet, Parade—an outfit worn by a Chinese conjurer hangs by huge reproductions of several others.
SF: Some of the costumes are extremely cubistic—and some are much more traditional—and they interplay with each other.
MD: And true enough, this steady, and for some, confounding, interplay is on display throughout Picasso: The Great War, Experimentation and Change.