Monday, May 23, 2011

The Last New Picasso...

You will know by now all about the newest San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) show, called The Steins Collect: Matisse, Picasso, and the Parisian Avant-Garde. I quoted from the catalogue yesterday, which I now have and am slowly looking through ... the show is wonderful. It begins here and moves to Paris and New York. There are drawings, paintings, pieces of furniture, letters, plans by Le Corbusier, photographs and the collections are gathered together in the museum as they were acquired and displayed in each home ...  this will not be happening again! The show helps explain the way the Steins' purchases and salons helped encourage the understanding and reputation of the newest wok of the twentieth century. Do go if you possibly can!

Gertrude Stein was able to purchase Picasso's work through the first World War, but his prices soon escalated and her final purchase, in late winter 1923, may have involved the exchange of an older Picasso. It is a still life now owned by The Art Institute of Chicago. In an attempt to see how this "final" Picasso was composed, I sketched it ... my version has some adjustments, made as I was reconciling my angles with Picasso's.  The painting feels to me less like a collection of objects on a table, which it must be, given its title, than a nude or pair of lovers... and that would fit with one of the interesting discoveries we made while looking at the show: the Steins were exceedingly fond of nudes. Here is my version:

(Details, provenance and the reproduction published in the exhibition catalogue, pages 229 and 434)

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