Sunday, December 2, 2012
While Picasso is known for his "periods" in his paintings, his use of black, white and gray ran throughout his career, as shown in "Picasso Black And White" at the Guggenheim Museum. This exhibit proves Picasso's statement, "The fact that in one of my paintings there is a certain spot of red isn’t the essential part of the painting. You could take the red away, and there would always be the painting.” With their stripped-down palette, these works highlight Picasso's concern with line, form and structure. Certainly these elements were essential to his Cubist paintings, and they fit the mood of his anti-war works, including "The Charnel House" (1944-1948), "Rape of the Sabines" (1962) and "Mother with Dead Child II, Postscript to Guernica" (1937).
Particularly striking is Picasso's development in his portraits of women. He ranged from the classicism of "Bust of a Woman, Arms Raised" (1922) to the multi-dimensionality of "Marie-Thérèse, Face and Profile" (1931), shown above. Because Picasso kept returning to black and white, this exhibit ultimately serves as a survey of his remarkable, varied and prolific career.
“Picasso Black and White” runs through Jan. 23, 2012 at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, 1071 Fifth Avenue at 88th Street, NYC, (212) 423-3500, www.guggenheim.org/new-york