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Catalog Record: Making time : Picasso's Suite 347 | HathiTrust Digital Library
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Information Format: Hardback Pages: pages, ill. The ordinary figure, the lighting source, and the dull empty space recall Figurative Naturalism. The figurative painting Man in Blue is displayed separately in the gallery.
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A somber blue hue dominates the palette and inevitably casts a gloomy mood. The blank stare of the posing model, like that of The Barefoot Girl , imparts an impression of melancholy. The third gallery is entitled Around the Demoiselles. The gallery aims to show the variety of styles and materials that Picasso creatively incorporated into his works. It highlights the influence of African art on Picasso and shows his experimentation with African art motifs to visualize and represent his models. The wall text also includes some of the seminal moments that inspired the artist. In the Around the Demoiselles gallery, the viewers face the first sculpture in the exhibition, Figure The unfinished totem-like oak figure brings to mind traditional African sculpture.
Bold and angular in shape, it already foreshadows the motifs that dominate this gallery. Behind the figure, a large photo mural is installed the original photograph was taken by the American journalist Frank Gelett Burgess in Two large Kanak sculptures, a large Conga drum, and an African harp sit in the background.
The musical instruments in the photograph introduce yet other keywords to consider in this gallery, namely, composition, movement, rhythm, energy, and harmony. As the viewers move from one work to another, they engage in a process of deconstruction and reconstruction of various shapes, patterns, lines, and motifs that are repeatedly represented in his sketches, drawings, and paintings.
His models are always subject to the idiosyncratic vision he creatively draws from his influences. The section label introduces Analytical Cubism and highlights its major stylistic characteristics.
The label explains that perspective and illusion are abandoned, and geometry is the new pictorial language of this revolutionary art movement of the 20th century. The models Picasso depicts in this period are women in hats, musicians, guitars, and men smoking pipes. Fragmented, deconstructed, and reconstructed, this musical instrument is described in the label as an allusion to the female body. Both represent similar techniques applied to different artistic media. This technique introduces new compositions where simplified geometric forms reflect movement and blend perspectives, space, and time.
Man with Guitar is given special importance in the exhibition space; it is displayed on a separate exhibition wall, while the sculpture is installed to the left of it. The somber palette, flattened volumes, sculptural forms, and heavy geometric shapes challenge the viewers to decipher the composition. The lines representing the strings, the shaded rosette, and the sound hole of the guitar are decipherable. The background and foreground of the pictorial space are blended, and yet the pictorial elements compelled into the center of the painting make meaning.
A human figure is seated on a pedestal-like chair and is holding a guitar. A long vertical darkened line creates spatial depth, and it depicts what looks like the corner of a room with the lettering KOU engraved on the wall. It represents Analytic Cubism in three-dimensions. The sensual shape and sound hole of the musical instrument are maintained and placed in the background of an angular composition of shapes and lines. The strings are fastened to the foreground of the composition to evoke fragmentation and movement. The composition gives the impression of a deconstructed musical instrument.
The surface of the guitar opens in rigid angular shapes to reveal a sensual interior. Once more, the viewers sense rhythm and musicality in this gallery. They can be decomposed and recomposed to produce and reproduce endless creative and harmonious products. The two major key phrases in this gallery are: stylistic ruptures and return to order. Accuracy and precision of line replace geometry in his works, and the themes are also inspired from the classical period.
They include bathing women that recall Italian Renaissance art. The label describes this stylistic shift as an interpretation of the classical ideal. The volumes are stretched out, and the models are reduced to osseous mineral forms. The works in the gallery depict female nudes and bathers in multiple artistic forms and styles.
Picasso Suite 347
Yet, the motif of the pensive figure seated on a chair is always present. However, three paintings in this gallery hold interest in terms of their stylistic qualities that alter the idea of classicism: Seated Woman , Two Bathers , and Large Bather It has a mannerist, naturalist, and cubist touch. This robust female figure is drawn in massive scale and quasi-angular shapes that recall Cubism. In Two Bathers , the disfiguration of the two female nudes is prominent; they are represented with small heads, asymmetrical breasts, large feet, and long inflated hands.
On the other hand, the female figure in Large Bather is flattened and reduced to simple geometric shapes like circles and triangles. This brings to mind both Cubist and sculptural perspectives. This dialectic of body-object typical of surrealist installations is evident to the viewers. These works show the ease with which he combines styles. She is painted, sculpted, and drawn in renewed plastic vocabulary and a radiant palette.
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The motifs that Picasso articulates in representing his model are her profile, blond hair, curved forehead, prominent nose, and voluptuous body shape. Yet, her body is not free from distortion. It is subject to metamorphosis by means of sharp, flat, geometric shapes that the viewers experience in some representations of this model. The large oil painting Reading is displayed separately, facing the bronze sculpture Head of a Woman The spatial depth is flattened, and yet four horizontal lines and a vertical one behind her create some depth in the background. She is depicted in round shapes and saturated colors.
Her head and body are asymmetrical and disfigured to represent both a front and a profile view. The round forehead and prominent nose are articulated and dramatized, and the dense and weighty head imparts the impression of a sculpted stone. The sculptural touch in this painting is visually associated with the bronze sculpture in the gallery. Yet, a set of protruding eyes replace the deep eyes represented in the painting. Their distortion becomes a necessary act to accentuate the sculptural dimension.
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Analytic Cubism and Realism continue to influence this gallery. Her roundness and sensuality are abandoned, and her face is further disfigured. The background and foreground of the space are blended, and the palette is muted. Her lively round face and deep look are replaced with a rigid greyish face and a gloomy tired look. The gallery includes a set of photographs that Dora Maar, a Surrealist artist and photographer, took of Picasso to document his work between the years and in their studio in Grands Augustins.
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This gallery is unlike the others. This was one of the first times that such a large collection of his sculpture was on display. Before this point, most of his sculptures remained in his possession, not shown to the outside world. The show garnered lots of attention — including a deluge of reviews and commentary that continued throughout the exhibition and well beyond.
This was the final show before the renovation of the Grand Palais — an impressive send off. Holloway, Memory. New York: Peter Lang Publishing,