Mar 23, 2013

Pablo Chicago

The Chicago Art Institute has a large exhibit about Picasso this spring, to celebrate the centennial of the Armor show, the first time works of Pablo were on display in the United States. Pablo never visited Chicago, but GABROEN found out today that there is a special bond between the city and the artist. Both the Art Institute and local collectors have built up quite an oeuvre of Picasso's work, and Chicago embraced his modern style when establishing itself as a modern art&architecture city.

Today, another brisk but sunny Spring day, GABROEN checked out the "Picasso and Chicago" exhibit. It was very crowded, but we got in early enough to not have to stand in line to enter the exhibit rooms in the huge Art Institute. Many works were on display that we had never seen elsewhere, and there were hundreds of drawings, paintings, prints and ceramics. This guy was immensely prolific (see also the earlier post on visiting the Picasso Museum in Barcelona last April - click Pablo y Gabroen in El Born), and the exhibit spanned from 1901 to 1967.

He stated that "a picture is the sum of its destructions", and he must have meant that in both figurative and literal sense. Now that we have more sophisticated ways to analyze paintings and drawings, we continue to learn novel things about his work, including that he painted over paintings. The curators suggest that he intentionally covered up a painting of a vase of flowers with a woman's bust, or a woman and child with an old guitar player, but it sounded a little far-fetched and art historian mumbo-jumbo. Perhaps he just didn't like the first painting, or he was running low on canvases. In one case it was clearly a matter of not liking the original: in his famous Woman with child on the beach, he had initially added a man. He shortened the piece by cutting off half the man, and repainting the other half. No one knew, until he donated the cut off half.

If you happen to be in the neighborhood, do check out the exhibit. It is definitely worth the visit, although a little messy and disorganized. And while you're at it, enjoy lunch at the museum's Terzo Piano restaurant. As the name implies, it's on the third (and top) floor, and has windows all around to soak up some Spring sunshine as well as excellent downtown views. A pleasant Saturday indeed.

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