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Пабло Пикассо. Набросок сидящей женщины: обнаженная с драпировкой. 1907 (c) Succession Picasso 2018

Origins of Cubism

30 Aug - 18 Nov 2018

The installation exhibition “Origins of Cubism” is opening on August 30 at the Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts. The exhibition offers the general public a great opportunity to become acquainted for the first time with the history of cubism, one of the most important trends in 20th century art (1907–1923). British art historian John Golding wrote in a monograph that cubism is “...the most important and, without a doubt, the most complete and radical artistic revolution since the Renaissance.”

Pablo Picasso’s sketchbook for “Young Ladies of Avignon” (1907) — a painting that revolutionized the art of the time — is the cornerstone of the exposition. The massive canvas is stored in the New York Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) and never leaves the permanent exposition. For the first time in Russia, the Moscow exhibition will display more than 60 drawings from the sketchbook that the artist created in May—June 1907, which is housed at the Picasso House Museum (Museo Casa Natal), Malaga.

Curators: Suria Sadekova, Anna Klochkova, Nikolay Molok

    • “Young Ladies of Avignon” is a painting that opened a new era in art history. According to Picasso, this art work was a “deliberately unfinished” study painting, an exploration painting, in which the master tested a new approach in handling space and perspective, trying to solve the mystery of creation by using new expressive means.
    • Picasso worked on “Young Ladies of Avignon” in two stages lasting nine months, and during that period he made 809 sketches and drafts. Most of them were stored in the artist’s house. According to Pierre Daix, one of Picasso’s most significant biographers and author of the catalogue raisonné “Picasso: the Cubist Years”, “...Picasso seemed to avoid public display of the preparatory sketches for his huge art work, probably because he did not want to be involved in a discussion about the origins of his conception, which he always found profoundly annoying.” The small study book with priceless drafts and sketches, which Picasso’s heirs owned for decades, was bought by the Picasso House Museum in 2006.
    • “To me there is no past or future in art. <...> The art of the Greeks, of the Egyptians, of the great painters who lived in other times, is not an art of the past; perhaps it is more alive today that it ever was,” said Pablo Picasso in a 1923 interview. In support of this statement, the drawings from the Spanish museum will be complemented by masterpieces from Ancient Egypt, antique ceramics, and applied art from the Hellenistic period, overall about 20 art objects from the permanent exhibition and depot of the Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts. Undoubtedly, this exhibition would have been impossible without Picasso’s African figurines and gouache drawings from the globally renowned collection of Sergey Shchukin. Exhibition architects will use a large installation table to recreate the “carefully planned disorder, which Picasso brings forth everywhere,” as Ilya Ehrenburg wrote in his memoirs about his friend. Combined together, these masterpieces will create a kind of retrospection into Picasso’s imagination and associations.
    • Paul Cézanne’s (1839–1906) painting “Bathers” (1890–1894) from the Pushkin Museum collection was chosen as the opening exhibit. Picasso called Paul Cézanne “the father of us all,” and Philippe Sollers, a contemporary French writer, called this painting a “Gospel of Modernity.” Cézanne explored the artistic theme of bathing for two decades and created over 40 versions of “Bathers”, which launched the search for new forms in painting and the incremental abandonment of thingness.
    • This outstanding exhibition offers a new perspective on Pablo Picasso’s early works, allowing Russian and international visitors to discover some of the artistic foundations of the greatest avant-garde painter of the 20th century.
    • Marina Loshak, Director of the Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts:
    • This year we are hosting three very important exhibitions connected with Pablo Picasso. “Origins of Cubism” is the first in this series. We will show the early phase of the artistic studies, the great master’s first experiments with cubism. While this exhibition is not very large, it contains very interesting and diverse items, and it will be a nice introduction to our “French Art Season” this fall. After that, we will host an exhibition dedicated to Baroness Hélène Oettingen’s Paris salon and artistic life in Paris in the early 20th century, as well as an ambitious project about the love story of Pablo Picasso and his wife, ballerina Olga Khokhlova.
    • The exhibition was organized jointly by the Picasso House Museum in Malaga and the curator team of the Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts, which included Suria Sadekova, Anna Klochkova, Nikolay Molok, and architects Nadezhda Korbut and Kirill Asse.
30 Aug - 18 Nov 2018
Hall 31


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