Pablo Picasso, "Portrait of Dora Maar", 1937
Last week I went with friends to the Picasso exhibit at the deYoung museum in Golden Gate Park in SF. Scores of his paintings, prints and sculpture are on view there, part of a traveling show from the collection of of the Musee Picasso in Paris.
It is truly a gift from that museum, and the French Ministry of Culture, that these pieces are allowed to travel. I have never had the pleasure of visiting that museum; indeed, I have spent only 8 hours in Paris, and that was many years ago. So, viewing these works in my own town is a rare artistic and educational opportunity.
That said, I have never been a great fan of Picasso's paintings. He is wonderfully confident, creative and unafraid, but at times too self indulgent, and almost sloppy, in the execution of his ideas. In addition, he remains for me only a mediocre colorist, with occasional notable exceptions. (I have always been partial to Matisse, whose love of color and whose protean ability to reinvent himself and to invent new styles of painting makes him for me the defining talent of the 20th century.)
Despite these criticisms, I have never seen a bad Picasso drawing or print. He is perhaps the best draftsman of the last century. His sculpture is both astonishing and prescient in its creation of the major trends which followed it. And, his ceramic works are as free and lovely as his drawings. My niggling should not discourage a visit to this exhibition, which showcases a talent that is inspiring in its creative range and technical excellence. You should go and take a look- it will be well worth your time.
Here are some pieces that I particularly enjoyed:
I am a San Francisco artist who enjoys making art and visiting art exhibits.