Saturday, February 23, 2013

Experience germination of a genius

A new exhibition at the Courtauld Gallery brings together a spectacular group of several exquisite Picasso paintings, offering a unique opportunity to experience the birth of his genius.

‘Becoming Picasso: Paris 1901’ reunites major paintings from his debut exhibition with the influential dealer Ambroise Vollard. It was the year that the ambitious nineteen-year-old launched his career in Paris with an exhibition that would set him on course to become one of the greatest artists of the 20th century.

These works show the young painter taking on and transforming the styles and subjects of major modern artists of the age, such as Van Gogh, Degas and Toulouse-Lautrec. In the second half of 1901, Picasso radically changed the direction of his art, heralding the beginning of his now famous Blue period. Inspired partly by the recent suicide of a close friend, Picasso produced a group of profoundly moving paintings of melancholic figures that are considered to be among his first masterpieces.

An elaborate review by Alastair Sooke of the UK Telegraph mentions: “Picasso developed this new look in the late summer of 1901. In place of frenetic brushwork, he favored more monumental forms, extensive planes of colour, and bold outlining redolent of Post-Impressionist painters such as Gauguin and Van Gogh. The narrative of this exhibition is one of the most exciting stories that can be told about the life of any major artist — that of breakthrough. It’s a tight, compelling, and beautifully installed exhibition, full of first-class works of art borrowed from important institutions around the world.”

The works show Picasso’s desire to take on and reinvent the styles of major modern artists, including Van Gogh, Degas and Toulouse-Lautrec. The show was a success and launched Picasso’s career in Paris. It is a great opportunity to discover the remarkable story of Pablo Picasso’s breakthrough year as an artist –1901.

The Courtauld Institute of Art is one of the world’s leading centres for the study of the history and conservation of art and architecture, and its Gallery houses one of Britain’s best-loved collections.  Based at Somerset House.

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