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January 15, 1958 - Image 11

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Wednesday January 15, 1958 THE
The Curren
A Prolific and
'By R. C. GREGORY . t
provides a retrospective history of
SIXTY YEARS of any artiat's modern art. Indeed, greater artists
creative life illustrated in an there may well have been-but
exhibition of more than three who more versatile? Karl Shapiro
hundred pieces provide an im- wrote once:
mense prospect. When the artist is .. An album of Picasso
Pablo Picasso, the total effect is Shocks by variety: and if such
overwhelming. There remain only a master
superlatives in which to speak of And influence in the arts of
the Picasso 75th Anniversary Ex- paint and words t
hibition. There have, perhaps, been Can so transmute his media,
greater artists in the past but not, what remains
surely, in this century and, for For any mere practitioner but
better or worse, this is the ten- to follow
tury to which one is bound. Suit?
The 75th Anniversary Exhibition ICASSO started, of course, be-
is large in many respects: It is s ,
the largest collection of Picasso's fore the turn of the century,
work ever assembled in the United with an early homage to Toulouse-
States. It contains the largest Laotrec. "Le Moulin de la Galette"
number of items ever loaned by (1900) sums up what the influence
the artist from his own collection. meant; it is a canvas illuminated
And, not unimportant, it will have by the faces of cafe-visitors as
been seen by more than half a much as by the lights strung above
million people when it is finally the dancing couples, faces that
dispersed at the end of January full-front or in profile betray a
from the Philadelphia Museum of feverish sharpness. The oil-and-
Art, pastel "Gypsy Girl" (1898?) and
the watercolor-and-conte-crayon
Opened in New York's Museum "Redemption" (1898?) suggest
of Modern Art last May 22, the Edvard Munch, particularly the
show was visited by 300,000 people former, whose similarity to a
before closing September 8. It re- Munch oil, "Aftenstund" ("The
opened at the Art Institute of Evening Hour"), is uncomfortably
Chicago on October 29 and 116,000 coincidental. And who but the
people visited before the close on Pointillistes made the art history
December 8. With some altera- of "Dwarf Dancer," painted in
tions, the show opened in Phila- Paris in 1901?
t delphia the first of January; num-
bers there will surely bring the pICASSO'S Blue Period, along
total above the half-million figure. with the Pink Period, is per-
Picasso's 75th Anniversary Ex- haps his most popular. The Art
hibition has undoubtedly been Institute of Chicago owns the
more written about at great length famous "The Old Guitarist," com-
than any other one-man show in memorated by Wallace Stevens in
the nation's history. "The Man with the Blue Guitar,"
Picasso himself, his home, chil-
dren, dogs, nd doves, have been The man bent over his guitar,
the subject of photographic essays A shearsman of sorts. The day
and his life in photographs and was green.
documents, the subject of a book, They said, "You have a blue
A Portrait of Picasso. A book on guitar,
his posters appeared late in the You do not play things as they
fall. Sirpultaneous to the anni- are."
versary show, the Saidenburg Gal- The man replied, "Things as
leries in New York have been ex- they are
hibiting a group of Picasso's recent Are changed upon the blue
-meaning from the last two years guitar,"
-oils, The profile of Picasso by
Janet Manner, written for The Unfortunately, this well-known
New Yorker in 1956, has appeared canvas was not included in the
as part of a book. Whatever may show. There were, however, several
be said in general about modern blue canvases seldom seen: "Wom-
art and artists, so far as reception an in Blue" (1901?), from the
is concerned, Pablo Picasso has Museo de Arte Moderno in Madrid;
had a great year. the piercing, haunting "Sebastian
Few who saw the 75th Anni- Junyer Vidal" (1903), owned by
versary Exhibition would begrudge the subject, who lives in Barcelona.
Picasso his triumph, for his work The two outstanding paintings of


Page Elevern

t Exhibition Chronicles
Masterly Six-Year Output
the Blue Period were probably
"Blind Man's Meal" (1903), witha.
the long, beautiful hands of the
ma n domin.atisig the c. nvas, and
"Woman Ironing" (1904), the tall,
frail body bowed down by the
weight of her flat-iron and the '
sense of inescapable poverty. "Boy
with a Pipe" (1905) is well-kno\n;
the superb "Monkey" (1905) from
the Cone Collectiona in Baltimore
less so' its casual precision is rem-
iniscent of oriental animal draw- "
But the masterpiece of 1905 is
the lyrically beautiful,"Boy Lead-
ing a Horse," a large painting that
is strangely restrained and digni-
fied and natural, with none of the
pathos of the blue canvases. Picas-
so was not twenty-five until 1906.
AND IN HIS twenty-fifth year
he painted Gertrude Stein, re-
quiring her for many sittings and
finally finishing the face without
the subject. He painted his own
clean - shaven face, giving it a
mask-like immobility and epth.
There was, late in 1906, "Two
Nudes," one painted with a dis-
located breast, the other with a
mask-like profile in three-quarter
view. Monumental in their solid
pose, the two women are seen full-
face (or full-mask), splintered into
brilliant flesh-tone planes, in a
later canvas, the famous "Les
Demoiselles d'Avignon" (1907).
"Les Demoiselles" is the art his-
torian's official beginning of Cub-
ism-which may have just hap-
pened, not got formally begun-
but it clearly evolved from previous
"This was the year 1907.
Gertrude Stein was just see-
ing through the press Three
Lives which she was havng
privately printed, and she was
deep in The Making of Ameni-
cans, her thousand page book. x
Picasso had just finished his
portrait of her which nobody
at that time liked except the
painter and the painted and
which is now so famous, and
he had just begun his strange
complicated picture of three
women, Matisse had just fin-
ished his Bonheur de Vivre,
his first big composition which
gave him the name of fauve or
a zoo. It was the moment Max
Jacob has since called the
heroic age of cubism. I re-
See PICASSO, page 16

-Photographs Courtesy Museum o Modern Art
"Three Ballerinas," (top) a pencil-and-charcoal drawing of
1919, is in Picasso's own collection. Diaghilev, the famous impre-
sario of the Ballets Busses, commissioned Picasso to do the designs
for several ballets both new and old-these are for "Les Sylphides."
Picasso painted the cubist portrait "Wilhelm Uhde" (above)
in Paris the spring of 1910; during the same year he painted
"Girl with a Mandolin," and cubist portraits of Ambroise Vollard
and D. H. Kahnweiler. Both Vollard and Kahuweiler were
dealers; Uhde was a critic.
"Reclining Nude," (left) from a private collection in Paris,
was painted between 12 August and 2 October, 19x6; it has not
been shown in the United States prior to the 75th Anniversary
Exhibition. Violently distorted, it provides marked contrast to the
still lifes of the same period and is more alkin to the "Guernica."

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