Monday, May 20, 2013

Your Art Lesson for Today

Recently Jim and I visited the Art Institute of Chicago to see it's latest exhibition, "Picasso and Chicago".  His work was first exhibited here 100 years ago at the Armory Show, which was a modern art showcase. Picasso had never been to the Art Institute nor had he even set foot in Chicago. Yet he donated this famous sculpture, (although unnamed, dubbed "The Picasso" by Chicagoans), to the City of Chicago, refusing to accept the $100,000 check, insisting that this was a gift.

Sculpture weighs 160 tons, 50 feet tall

You mention the name "Picasso" and most people know who you are talking about. You either love his work or hate his work. Maybe I should rephrase either respect his work, or hate his work. I fall into the  love/respect his work. I may not understand some of it, but I can respect it. This man was talented, no doubt about it.

photo credit: Wikipedia

I have to say that I am so happy that museums are allowing cameras into the exhibitions (no flash allowed). This way, I can share it with all of you, AND you don't even have to pay the price of admission!

You're welcome!

First thing we saw as we entered the gallery was this which I thought was pretty cool:

Here is your vocabulary lesson for today. That smaller model sculpture is called a maquette, pronounced (ma-ket, muh).  Who knew? Not me. Until today, that is. Anyway, how cool is that? With the backdrop of the unveiling of the original sculpture back in August 1967.

If you ever go to an art exhibit and you have a chance to rent headphones, I highly recommend them. You get to hear more background about the pieces that you wouldn't ordinarily get from just walking around the museum. There was talk about the above piece and what people thought the sculpture was of: head of a baboon, a horse, or even Picasso's afghan dog. Officially is it supposed to be of a woman's head.

Here are some examples of what I learned because of wearing the headphones:

This is called, "The Old Guitarist" and was painted during Picasso's "blue" period. But what was really interesting was that there were two other paintings underneath this one! He just painted over the canvas again and again.

This painting is entitled, "Villa in Villarius", and is a view from Picasso's home of his garden and valley when he lived in southeastern France. He painted this outside because tests found a lot of dirt in the paint. There were a lot of dirt particles in the air from the many pottery kilns in the area.

Which is where he made this large vase with dancers.

I love this painting. It's called, "Mother and Child", from Picasso's Classical period.

A few feet away was this painting. It is said that when Picasso saw a photo of his "Mother and Child" in the museum catalog, he went into the other room and handed the visiting Art Institute Trustee a rolled up painting. It was the fragmented painting below that he had cut off from the original painting. When it was one large painting, the man had one arm around the woman and the other arm dangled a fish over the baby. That is what the baby was reaching for. I don't know why (or can't remember) why he decided to cut this piece off.

This is called, "The Red Armchair". It is a portrait of his mistress Marie Therese Walter, who had "blonde hair, a strong profile, and a voluptuous body", according to the description of the painting. I like that it looks as if the woman is looking face forward, and then it shows her profile. The true meaning of a "two-faced" woman!

To be continued.....


Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

You sure picked a great place to get off the full time road! I love it here, but it's a little lacking in cultural opportunities. (I know you really picked it because near you family etc...but what a neat bonus to be near the big city of Chicago. Wonderful. I've noticed on several blogs that photos are allowed now in most art museums (they probably figure there's not much use in fighting it any more!).
Thanks for sharing with the culturally deprived; I enjoyed the tour much.

Brian Miller said...

he def had an interesting view of things...and very creative...saw a bunch of his work in new york a couple years back....neat sculpture...

JoJo said...

I would have to fall into the 'hate his work' category unfortunately. It just doesn't speak to me. Glad you got to see it though! :)

Adam said...

I always hate when places don't allow pictures. I get the flash part, but some places are terrible with rules.

Lynda said...

Ok - - I like most of what you have posted of his work. It's the abstracts that I don't care for. Sort of like poetry that either doesn't make sense or means something else. I like things to be what they are supposed to be - - - paint what it actually looks like and when using words, have them represent exactly what is said. But I am open-minded about stuff - - -just prefer "normal". Hmmmm - - what's that say about me?

Anonymous said...

OMGosh! I grew up in Chicago, and never liked the infamous "Baboon" statue! Consequently, it ruined me on abstract art. I respect all artists, and what they do...just cannot click with abstract. I guess I am too much a realist. This was interesting though!

Valerie said...

I didn't know Picasso had a Classic Period. I learn something every time I come on your blog.

Gail said...

You would not catch me turning down a check...unless I knew it was "hot"!

Carletta said...

I wonder how many people would attend an unveiling these days. That sure was a crowd. I do not see a woman in that - horse I can relate to. :)
Nice series - thanks for taking us along.

kisatrtle said...

I just loved this post!


I like Picasso and enjoyed seeing his paintings. Cool story about the woman, baby, man painting. I'd never seen that one before.
He was interesting if nothing else.
So is his work.
Thanks for sharing this. Barb