The exhibition presents Picasso masterpieces of the early days of his artistic life, from 1901 to 1907, the years he spent between Paris and Barcelona.
“All you need is Pablo”: that was the slogan used, in 1967, by the people of Basel, who loved the Spanish painter and wanted to keep two of his paintings at the Kunstmuseum Basel.
Today, Basel-based Beyeler Foundation hosts, a monographic exhibition titled “The young Picasso – Blue and Rose Periods”, one of the most important European art events planned for 2019, which has finally seen the light after several years of preparation.
Never before has an exhibition featured so many paintings from this particular period, and it will probably be a long time before this happens again.
The exhibition features 75 rarely-seen masterpieces on loan from 41 collections, including 13 of the world’s most famous museums such as the Musée National Picasso in Paris, the MOMA in New York, the Tate in London, the National Gallery in Washington DC, the Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts in Moscow, and the National Museum of Art in Osaka, to name a few.
The exhibition follows Picasso through the early days of his artistic life, from 1901 to 1907, the years he spent between Paris and Barcelona, and closes with a sketch for the Demoiselles d’Avignon. During the blue period, Picasso investigated the human figure and interpreted, in silent contemplation, existential emotions such as sadness, love, destiny and death. When the painter moved to Paris, in 1905, his paintings became delicate and beautiful, tinged with pink and ochre, with a symbolist influence: Picasso attributed to acrobats, harlequins and street performers a new sense of hope.
His Spanish stay in the Pyrenees, in 1906, where he went looking for new authenticity in art, saw the creation of several paintings and sculptures with both classical and archaic body canons. The female nudes depicted in a “primitivistic” manner are especially indicative of how, as early as 1907, the deformation and decomposition of the human figure were progressively leading towards a cubist language. Alongside the paintings, the Beyeler Foundation has organized a very interesting program of events.
Text by Auretta Olivieri