Sculpture, Picasso Style

Regular museum visitors know the rules when it comes to photography. At most New York museums, photography (with no flash) is allowed in all the galleries which house works of the permanent collection. Special exhibitions, however, prohibit photography of any kind. Try to take a quick pic on your iPhone and you can expect one of the guards to admonish you. “Sorry ma’am, no photography”. You will then be handcuffed and escorted to an interrogation room <– just kidding 😉 So imagine my delight when I was told that photography WAS allowed at the recent “Picasso Sculpture” show at MoMA. Yay! The show ended its five month run on February 7th, and I saw it in its final few days, which is how I see most of the big acclaimed art shows in town – when the end date is looming! I’m very glad I didn’t miss this one.

Picasso had formal training in painting and drawing only. So his approach to sculpture was motivated by experimental impulses, ingenuity, and his fertile creative mind, all of which were abundantly on display in this exhibit. What we witnessed, from gallery to gallery, was a man engaged in self-taught exploration, working in three-dimensions, letting his imagination run free, salvaging metal and wood scraps, found objects, paper and paint, cardboard, string, nails, plants, plaster, bronze, and anything he could get his hands on. In a wide array of subject matter – women, animals, children, instruments, etc. -Picasso’s sculptural expressions alternate from childlike to muscular, classical to avant-garde, spontaneous to engineered. He worked big, he worked small, and continued to experiment with sculpture for decades – a perpetual student – up to the mid-1960s. It was a truly fun and fascinating show.

This is just a sampling of the works, and among the ones I’ve chosen to post there is surely something for everyone here. I took all the photos in this post, so feel free to download, keep, and share!

Woman with Hat, painted sheet metal:

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Maquette for Richard J. Daley Center Sculpture, oxidized welded steel:

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Head of a Woman, painted sheet metal and iron wire:

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Little Horse, painted metal with wheels:

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Sylvette, painted sheet metal:

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Kneeling Woman Combing Her Hair, bronze:

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Head of a Woman (Fernande), bronze:

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Guitar, ferrous sheet metal and wire:

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Picasso did six versions of this, Glass of Absinthe, in painted bronze with an actual absinthe spoon. He made the sugar cube also from a piece of bronze. A very popular alcoholic spirit in Picasso’s day, absinthe was prepared by pouring it over a sugar cube and then diluting with water:

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Guitar, painted sheet metal, painted tin box, and iron wire:

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Composition with Glove, glove, cardboard, plants sewn and glued, coated with sand:

IMG_7154

Seated Woman, bronze:

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Part of the memorial monument to Guillaume Apollinaire, French poet and friend of Picasso who died in 1918. Head of a Woman, iron, sheet metal, springs, and painted metal colanders:

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Also from the Monument to Apollinaire, Woman in the Garden, welded and painted iron:

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Head of a Woman, plaster:

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One of my favorites, The Reaper, plaster and wood:

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And another one of my favorites, this rough but quirky Little Owl, painted bronze with nails:

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Woman Carrying a Child, painted wood and section of palm leaf:

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Cat, bronze:

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The Orator, plaster, stone, and metal dowel:

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Man with a Lamb, bronze:

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The Bathers, wood and gesso:

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I’ll let the man himself sign off this post. Picasso’s signature on the back of one of his sheet metal creations:

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24 thoughts on “Sculpture, Picasso Style

  1. rmmauro01 says:

    Your photos are nicely done.
    I can feel your excitement and appreciation in your post. Thanks for this since it kinda far for me to get to MoMA.

    • artmodel says:

      rmmauro01,

      Thanks so much! MoMA is far for most of my readers, so I thought that I’d bring MoMA to them 🙂

      Good to hear from you!
      Claudia

      • rmmauro01 says:

        Keep up your external dialogue to us your faithful followers. I love hearing about your exploits. We miss your Twitter posts. Too bad there are crazies in this world that ruin it for the rest of us. (I assume that’s the reason you are gone). Look at it this way, one less distraction. I thought of you this morning when someone posted a pic of Robert Plant. 😉

        • artmodel says:

          rmmauro01,

          Yes, and thank you! You’re right on both counts; too many obnoxious, rude jerks on Twitter ruining the experience, AND the distraction issue as well. I’d rather put more time into Museworthy 🙂

          I’m very glad though, that you’re continuing to follow me here and checking in on my posts. Much appreciated!

          Claudia

  2. Therese beck says:

    Fantastic. Thanks for this view “inside”.

  3. Dave says:

    Claudia,
    This was fascinating. Thanks for taking all of those photos so those of us nowhere near New York could appreciate this exhibition. I had no idea Picasso did so much sculpture. Interesting that there were no nudes (or were there?).

    • artmodel says:

      Dave,

      There were some nudes but not as many as you’d expect, given that it’s Picasso. There were also many small pieces on display in the glass cases – little plaster studies – that didn’t photograph well.

      Thanks for your comments! Glad you enjoyed the post.

      Claudia

  4. Bill says:

    Excellent photos. Actually, for anyone who’s in the neighborhood, another Picasso show is opening at Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts: https://www.bostonglobe.com/arts/theater-art/2016/02/10/mfa-picasso-explosive-energy-concentrated/EfbogsxWBh30A7fQxTR7YO/story.html

    • artmodel says:

      Bill,

      That looks like a great show! Picasso is always a big draw to museums. I’m sure it will be a fantastic success for the MFA.

      Thanks for sharing and commenting!

      Claudia

  5. Charlie Campbell says:

    Many thanx for sharing these GREAT pix Claudia !
    We don’t get to see much like those at all, out here on the high desert.
    ( I am about 250 miles SW of Denver ) Very much appreciated !

    • artmodel says:

      Charlie,

      I’m so glad, thank you! The enthusiasm of your comment, and others above, make me consider doing more of these exhibition posts. Like I mentioned, it’s rare to be allowed photography in the special shows, that’s why I got so excited! Perhaps I could do posts of the permanent collection galleries? Not a bad idea!

      Claudia

  6. Lynn Kauppi says:

    Thanks for these Claudia. Sadly Picasso could be so damned misogynist, but the works are still beautiful. (And I’m just about to email you!)

    • artmodel says:

      Lynn,

      It’s funny you said that, because a friend who saw the exhibit came away with the perception that Picasso’s misogyny was less prominent in these works than in his paintings. I think she had a point.

      Thanks for commenting!

      Claudia

  7. Fred Hatt says:

    Nice selection of images! To me the greatness of Picasso is his restless creative spirit, constantly trying new things. Most of the sculptures represent people or animals, and abstract as they are each has an individual presence like a living being.

    • artmodel says:

      Fred,

      I agree 100% about Picasso’s restless creative spirit. The man just kept producing and experimenting, trying new things, and wasn’t focused all the time on making masterpieces. It’s his most impressive attribute as an artist, in my opinion. And I love his renderings of animals. They are among my favorites.

      Thanks for your comments!

      Claudia

  8. artmodelandrew says:

    I didn’t know Picasso was such a prolific sculptor. I’m always learning something from you.

    By the way, my memory association linking the words Museworthy and Picasso recalls a past post about search terms. 😉

  9. Bob says:

    I was just sitting on the base of the Picasso at Daley Center here in Chicago. I had no idea there was a miniature out there.

  10. Jim O'Neil says:

    A friend of mine here in Alaska that died a few years ago, an artist that used to run with the Pollock crowd down in your neighborhood, used to tell the story ’bout how he visited Picasso when in Europe.

    Making the long story short (He, his name was Alfred Skondovitch, was a far better raconteur than me anyway.):
    He, “Please, I’d like to see Pablo Picasso.”.
    She, “‘Around back.”,
    He, “Thank you.”. Walks around back, sees Picasso et al working a hot bronze out from a sand mold.
    He, “Hello, it’s an honor to, I’m…”,
    Picasso interrupts, “Come here quick, piss on it!”

    As you might know. many believe peeing on a bronze when it’s around 300 degrees creates an excellent patina.

    • artmodelandrew says:

      It all makes sense now.

    • artmodel says:

      Jim,

      After reading that, half of me is thinking “Ewwww!!” and the other half is thinking, “Yeah that sounds like Picasso” 😆
      Artists will do whatever it takes to achieve the desired effect. And maybe the pisser should feel honored that their contribution is immortalized in art!

      Thanks for the story!

      Claudia

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