February 16, 2016
By Steve Tawa
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The Barnes Foundation is bringing the works of Pablo Picasso to the Ben Franklin Parkway, with an exhibition that showcases his work from 1912-1924.
It’s on view at the Barnes from this Sunday, February 21 through May 9.
It’s called Picasso: the Great War, Experimentation and Change. The title points the visitor to dramatic shifts in Picasso’s approach.
The works were conceived during tumultuous years, when Picasso, one of the most influential artists of the 20th century, employed the bold, abstract cubist style for which he is best known. But the Spanish artist also turned his attention to more traditional modes of expression by introducing elements of naturalism to his work.
Exhibition curator Simonetta Fraquelli says he shuttled back and forth between those different styles for over a decade.
“It’s a very interesting moment to decide why he did this. There may be political reasons, there may be social reasons; he may have wanted to situate himself within the great history of French art.”
Even though they were created in the period surrounding the First World War, unlike other members of the Parisian avant-garde, Picasso never directly addressed the war as a subject in his art.
The exhibition includes dozens of oil paintings, watercolors, drawings, and costumes. Foundation Curator Martha Lucy says Dr. Barnes had already assembled nearly 50 earlier works by Picasso.
“But mostly in this show, you can think of it as picking up the period in Picasso’s career, where the Barnes’s collection leaves off.”
The rest of the works come from major American and European museums and private collections.
Canvases by Picasso’s contemporaries, like Henri Matisse (Lorette in a Red Jacket from 1917) and Diego Rivera (Still Life with Bread Knife from 1915), are also in the show.