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January 15, 1958 - Image 17

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Wednesday, January 15, 1958

THE MICHIGAN DAILY MAGAZINE

Page Seventeen

set pace for 20th century art

I

(Continued from Page 78) "Girl before a Mirror": with bril-
liant colors supporting the psy-
but wooden. The contrasts be- chological inquiry, the canvas is a
tween the pinks and greys are not masterpiece of painterly investiga-
reproduceable, and the luminous, tion of the human being, a master-
radiant sensation of light is lost. piece of composition, design, and
The light of the pigments almost of execution, somewhat unusual
heir pros in Picasso who seems little inter-
floats the figures and, h ested in completing an experiment
portions notwithstanding, reduces once it has yielded what he sought.
their monumentality.
All canvases were not monu- THE POLITICAL decade of the
mental. Picasso's first son, Paul, Thirties clearly came to an
painted as harlequin in 1924 and European climax in the Spanish
pierrot in 1925, was the subject of Civil War, and Picasso's work
several lovely canvases, charming, reached one of its highest points
direct and delicate. Neither named in the giant oil "Guernica, "paint-
is a finished picture: the harlequin ed for the Spanish pavilion at the
Paul's feet and the upholstery of 1937 International Exposition in
the chair he sits on are no more Paris.
than suggestions; the right back- "On 26th April (1937), which
ground of the pierrot portrait is was a market day, the little
simply painted canvas, a comple- Basque town of Guernica was
mentary area of color setting off razed to the ground by planes
the pierrot's white costume. marked with the swastika,
"Three Dancers" (1925), also in which were then in Franco's
the artist's collection, is called the service. Two thousand civil-
beginning of another period, the inns lost their lives. The bom-
Expressionist. Not, perhaps, a very bardment lasted three and a
accurate phrase, except that in half hours and was intended
violent color and violent action to test the 'conmbined efferts
Picasso attempts to express equally of explosive and incendiary
vehement emotion restrained only bombs on a cit-ilan popula-
by the formality of the design. tion." (Robert Maillard: Pi-
Design was a major concern of casso; a Biographical Study.)
Picasso's in the great still - life There is no doubt, looking at
phase of the mid-twenties - and "Guernica," that it is a great
color, light, and the other tradi- canvas: power surges from the
tional aspects of the painter's flat figures on the canvas, en-
craft. "Ram's Head" (1925) is a veloping and subduing the view-
splendid example of the kind of er. "Guernica" is, in a sense, the
solutions he found, rich in color logical extreme of one's favorite
and gradations of color, complex crucifixion, or of Leonardo's "Last
and formal in design. But there
were also the results of his con-
cern with line - the fantastic
arabesque of "Running Monster,"
"Painter and Model" (both 1928), !eI IA
and the surrealism of "Seated
Bather" (1930) and "Figure by
the Sea" (1929). If the two ver- ooks fc
sions of "Three Musicians" sum-
med up cubism, the canvas "Cruci-
fixion" (1930) in brilliant, vibrat-
ing reds, pinks, yellows, and yel-
lowish-greens, summed up almost
a decade of restless, if fruitful
exploration.felsi rt,
1932 is the date of the famous

Supper." "Guernica" is not tech- "The Goat" (1950), the series of
nique, or allegory, nor painterly painted terra-cotta and bronze
investigation or innovation: "Owls" (1990 & 1953), all testify
"Guernica" is Picasso's response
to an early Lidice, less a prophecy to his mastery of sculpture and
than an accurate vision of history: his inventiveness in the medium.
"Guernica" is simply the vocabu- "The Kitchen," an oil of 1948,
lary, indeed, the entire exposition, suggests that Picasso could handle
of the catastrophe of war. Paul Klee's aesthetic and tech-
Without modelling, foreshorten- nique; "The Chimneys of Val-
ing, shadows, or perspective, it lauris" (1951) reveals a Picasso
rises like the great bald and hor- who has absorbed much from Ce-
rible fact that war is. It has no zanne's canvases as well as from
palette; black and white nd grey his o experiments; "The Stu-
suffice for Picasso to speak elo- dios" (1955 & 1956) speak a deep
quently and dramatically: "For understanding of Matisse's win-
better or worse Picasso has used dow-looking-out paintings. There
besonlanguase wPic hsederare the fine "Portrait of J. R.
his own language which is neither with Roses" (1954) and "Woman
traditional nor journalistic nori by a Wios " (195)ass"Wo -a
demag~ic.Andif tis wrk o Window" (1956), as sure-
at does not entirelyexpainthisit-handed and masterly as anything
self itoesntetdrefyendedinv Picasso has ever painted.
self, it can be defended very Between 13 December 1954 and
easily: let those who find the 14 February 1955 the Picasso vir-
Guernica" inadequate,, point to tuosity which has always been in
a greater painting produced dur- evidence was formally and largely
ing the~past terrible decade or, fordemonstrated in fifteen canvases.
that matter, during our century." Delacroix's "Ls Femmes dAlger"
(Alfred H. Barr: Picasso' Fifty elcoxs"sFmesdAgr
Yearsd fH is Art.) ' (1834) was the beginning point;
on this theme Picasso painted his
,flos- variations. The results suggest
99npaintngsh' y that he tired, perhaps, of paint-

ing variations on a -theme long
before he exhausted all his means
of doing so.
And there are his graphics to
recognize, a sufficient body of
work to insure his position as a
great artist had he never painted
or made a sculpture. There is no
end to what the man has pro-
duced. Informed estimates have
placed Picasso's total output at
over 10,000 pieces, which in itself
must be something of a record. He
is soon to make his first excur-
sion, so far as is known, into mo-
saics in murals for the UNESCO
building in Paris. There is little
reason to think that Picasso will
leave that medium unchanged by
his investigations. One cannot be
sure of what form or forms it will
take, but one can be sure of new
Picasso works to the very end.
One writer has called him the man
of the Eighth Day of creation;
another labelled him the miracle
of the century. Both perhaps are
right. But it seems enough to say
that Picasso is like no one else
who has lived in the last seventy-
five years.

hands. "Night Fishing at Antibes"
(1939) is a high point of both wit
and composition; "First- Steps"
(1943) is another example of a
sensitive and joyful sense of hu-
mor. Picasso has lived in the
South of France since the war,
turning his attention to pottery,
to lithographs, and again to
sculpture, as well as to painting.
"Man with a Lamb" (1944) and
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