Wednesday, August 8, 2012


"I paint the way some people write an autobiography. The paintings, finished or not, are the pages from my diary." So said Pablo Picasso, and after having seen an exhibition that spans most of his career, I can testify that his life was evidently as interesting as his art.

The exhibition I saw at the AGO was a collection of numerous paintings, sketches and sculptures that Picasso had kept for himself, works that would continue to inspire him over the course of a 70 year career.

Two Women Running on the Beach (The Race)
Although Picasso is most famous for his invention and pioneering of Cubism along with Georges Braque, he experimented in virtually every style and medium of the time. From realism to abstraction in his painting along with sculpture, collage, and drawing, Picasso mastered it all and radically changed modern art.

Figures on the Seashore, 1931
Of course Picasso is a staple in any art history class as he was a major innovator in the art world, inventing new styles that completely changed modern art. But seeing these pieces in the flesh is a completely different experience then that of viewing small scale reproduction. The same images are shown again and again in art history texts in an effort to reinforce the importance of the artist, almost excessively so. Seeing a show comprised entirely of his works makes you realize why Picasso is so emphasized in the first place.

Portrait of Dora Maar, 1937
What I love about Picasso is the fact that he didn't confine himself in his art. His style constantly changed significantly as he explored many different ideas and techniques. He painted, collaged and sculpted, experimented, invented and ultimately became known as one of the most renowned artists of the 20th century.
Seeing these works also drove home the fact that it is not simply their exposure that makes Picasso's works powerful. As Picasso said, these paintings are an autobiography of himself. They reveal the unique vision of the artist in a way that draws you into the work to become one with the painting, and ultimately the story.

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