Picasso Museum of Barcelona

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  • Lee Miller. Picasso in Private

    • Date 01/06/07 to 16/09/07
    • Lee Miller (USA, 1907 – United Kingdom, 1977) took over a thousand photographs of Picasso during the thirty-six years of their friendship. The exhibition shows a selection of more than one hundred of these pictures and offers also a taste of the production of Lee Miller as documentary and advertising photographer and as war correspondent.

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      Miller’s photography, together with the writing of Roland Penrose –Surrealist artist, Miller’s husband, and one of Picasso’s most important biographers, is one of the most extraordinary records ever made of an artist of Picasso’s calibre. Her keen eye captured the ever-evolving Picasso in his many-faceted existence, exuding a magnetic energy that Miller captured through her lens.

      In addition to the photographs, the exhibition in the Museu Picasso of Barcelona brings together, for the first time, five of the portraits that Picasso painted of Lee Miller as L’Arlésienne the summer of 1937 that the three of them – Miller, Penrose and Picasso – were together in Mougins.

    • Exhibition Website
  • Picasso and the circus

    • Date 16/11/06 to 18/02/07
    • Picasso's links with the circus world were a constant feature throughout his life.
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      Towards the end of the 19th century, Picasso went to circuses that came to Barcelona, although there is no trace of this in any of his work of the time. The street circuses in the boulevards of Paris were frequently visited by the young Picasso and his friends, when they first stayed in the city. Late 1904 and the beginning of 1905 is when the subject of the circus, in particular the Medrano circus, became an essential part of his life and work and the focal point of the output of the period. The artist created a fictitious scene where acrobats and tight-rope walkers -who had already appeared throughout the literary and artistic tradition of Romanticism as a symbol of human isolation and suffering- play roles in daily life, display their domestic problems, isolation and lack of understanding of their feelings. Family scenes featuring acrobats and harlequins from this period are the legacy of family group portraits whose roots take hold in the blue period. These compositions would be the base for a great painting that Picasso had been working on for some time, Acrobat Family, 1905. The Harlequin, as with the Minotaur of the 1930s, became the artist's alter ego. The Harlequin, whose genesis dated back to the Blue Period, took on serious importance in what came to be known as the Rose Period. During the years of analytic Cubism, the Harlequin's family reappears in isolated cases in a set of oil paintings from 1909 and in the still life Loaves of bread and fruit bowl on a table, where the composition refers us back to a previous work, Carnival at the tavern. In 1915, Picasso undertook a series of experiments to continue his analysis of representing the Harlequin and which culminated in the painting entitled Harlequin, property of the Museum of Modern Art in New York around which he painted a series of watercolours and which, in his own words, formed the climax of his interpretation of this figure. This intense work would culminate two years later in his first, daring collaboration with the theatre, Parade, where, by recreating life at a fairground booth, Picasso was able to create a series of plastic experiments based on the circus world. In this way, his triumphs in Cubism would alternate with a Naturalism that hinted at the great classics, that would appear much later in his life, where the figure of the Harlequin would continue to command a central role.

      From 1920 onwards, the subject of the Harlequin and the Pierrot regained importance and together with the 1917 figures, gave rise to the two great and definitive versions of The three musicians -where the artist once more takes on the identity of the Harlequin- and which are the splendid culmination of what he learnt on his trip to Italy. In the 1930s, the figure of the Minotaur, with whom the artist identified himself to the point that it also became his alter ego, gradually gave way to that of the Harlequin until its remains were gathered in the symbolic drawing Minotaur and Harlequin. In his last works, the circus show acquires special significance and the artist exorcises the circus work of his youth. Once again, the amazons and the clowns appear in a rich and varied display where his work defies the inexorable fleetingness of life. He did not hesitate to allow himself to be photographed as a clown on several occasions, revealing his inner personality as both heroic and sad. These magnificent photographs were taken by photographer friends such as David Douglas Duncan, André Villiers and Edward Quinn. The Picasso and the circus exhibition will review Picasso's treatment of the circus world, throughout his artistic career. The exhibition will later travel to the Fondation Pierre Gianadda at Martigny (09.03.2007-10.06.2007).