On the heels of announcing a rare upcoming exhibit of works from Madrid's renowned Prado, The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston is set to bring yet another major show of Spanish art to the Bayou City, this time focusing on the modern master himself, Pablo Picasso.
Through more than 100 paintings, sculptures and works on paper dating from 1904 to 1971, Picasso Black and White tackles the artist's seven-decade exploration of a restricted black-and-white palette, offering new insights into Picasso's working methods and artistic vision. Following its premiere at the Solomon R. Guggenheim this fall, the exhibition travels to Houston (and only Houston) in late February.
“With this latest exploration," Tinterow said, "Picasso’s compelling use of line, as opposed to color, can now be fully appreciated."
Decades of exhibitions on Picasso's dynamic oeuvre have concentrated on his diverse range of styles and subjects, leaving his continual use of monochromes surprisingly underexplored — particularly in light of the artist's 1937 masterpiece Guernica which has been composed with nary a drop of color.
“Picasso is widely considered the most important artist of the 20th century,” MFAH director Gary Tinterow said in a statement.
“[This] will be the first comprehensive exhibition of Picasso’s paintings and sculpture to be seen in Houston, expanding upon the Museum’s pioneering Picasso and Photography: The Dark Mirror, held in 1997 . . . With this latest exploration, Picasso’s compelling use of line, as opposed to color, can now be fully appreciated.”
Organized by the Guggenheim curators Karole Vail and Carmen Giménez — who Tinterow touts as having "an unerring eye and absolute understanding of the artist’s work" — the chronological exhibition demonstrates Picasso's regular investigations and technical inventions in black and white that would form the basis not only of his figurative Blue and Rose periods, but also guide him through his strongest moments in Cubism and Surrealism.
The works on view in the show, according to Giménez, display a certain graphic quality that taps into art from the Paleolithic age, a time when early artists developed a simple, but powerful visual language with charcoal and readily available mineral pigments.
Picasso's limited use of color, she feels, also takes into consideration the darkly-hued paintings of Spanish masters like El Greco, Diego Velázquez, Francisco de Zurbarán and Francisco de Goya — all of whom will be featured in the MFAH's Prado exhibit starting in December.
After its inaugural run this fall at the Solomon R. Guggenheim in New York, Picasso Black and White will be on view at the MFAH's Beck Building from February 24 to May 27, 2013. The Houston portion of the exhibition is coordinated by MFAH director Gary Tinterow and Alison de Lima Greene, curator of contemporary art and special projects.