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The world-premiere Melbourne Winter Masterpieces exhibition, The Picasso Century, has opened in Melbourne. The Picasso Century maps the extraordinary career of Pablo Picasso by placing his work in dialogue with that of the artists with whom he intercepted and interacted throughout the 20th century, including Georges Braque, Salvador Dalí, Alberto Giacometti, Françoise Gilot, Valentine Hugo, Marie Laurencin, Dora Maar, André Masson, Henri Matisse and Dorothea Tanning.
The Picasso Century will run from 10 June until 9 October 2022 at NGV International, St Kilda Road, Melbourne.
Exclusively developed for the NGV by the Centre Pompidou and the Musée national Picasso-Paris, the exhibition features over 80 works by Picasso alongside over 100 works by more than 50 of his contemporaries, drawn from premier French national collections, as well as the NGV Collection. Audiences will also have the opportunity to discover a rich selection of works by artists rarely exhibited in Australia, including Natalia Goncharova, Julio González, Wifredo Lam, Suzanne Valadon and Maria Helena Vieira da Silva.
The Picasso Century examines the diverse influences, encounters and collaborative relationships that steered Picasso through many distinct artistic periods, such as his Blue Period, Cubism and Surrealism, and draws lines between Picasso’s famous creations and the world around him.
Twelve thematic sections organise The Picasso Century, which traces the many distinct periods that shaped the artist’s career over more than seven decades, while also situating his work within a broader artistic and geographical context. Each exhibition section provides a nuanced perspective on a rich century of artistic experiment, in which Picasso stands prominently among many innovators.
The beginning of the exhibition explores Picasso’s formative years, which encapsulate significant artistic developments, most notably Cubism, the development of which Picasso led with Georges Braque. Considered by many the ‘experiment’ that most radically transformed 20th century art, Cubism saw Western art move away from representing likeness and, among many innovations, introduced multiple and simultaneous perspectives into a composition, resulting in the style’s recognisable fragmented imagery.
The Picasso Century also examines Picasso’s place within the multicultural crucible that was inter-war Paris, and his interaction with other artists and writers including André Breton, Georges Bataille, Jean Cocteau and Alberto Giacometti. The exhibition will be particularly rich with works from Picasso’s Surrealist period, presented alongside works by artists including Kay Sage, Max Ernst, Salvador Dalí, Giorgio de Chirico and André Masson.
The final sections of the exhibition explore Picasso’s work in an increasingly international art world post-1945 and examines the contested artistic output towards the end of his career. His work of the 1950s and 1960s are positioned alongside later generations of painters, including Francis Bacon and Willem deKooning.
Coinciding with The Picasso Century is a free NGV Kids exhibition titled Making Art: Imagine everything is real featuring a range of hands-on activities and multimedia experiences inspired by methods of working invented by some of the leading European artists included in the Melbourne Winter Masterpieces exhibition. While learning about some of the leading artists of the twentieth century in Europe, children will make their own surprising works as they explore collage techniques, write poetry and play surrealist games and turn everyday materials into large-scale sculptures.
Date: 10 June 2022 – 9 October 2022
Time: 10am – 5pm
Location: NGV International, St Kilda Road, Melbourne
Price: $8 – $65
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