Hakone Art and Landscapes, Hakone-machi, Kanagawa-ken, Japan

The Round Plaza, at the entrance to the rolling hills and grounds making up The Hakone Open-Air Museum, Hakone-machi, Kanagawa-ken, Japan, contains several sculptures

The Round Plaza, at the entrance to the rolling hills and grounds making up The Hakone Open-Air Museum, Hakone-machi, Kanagawa-ken, Japan, contains several sculptures

 

Early on our last morning in Tokyo we left the pier and drove south about 90 minutes through Kanagawa Prefecture to The Hakone Open-Air Museum.  As its name implies, works by 19th- and 20th-century Japanese and Western artists are displayed outdoors. Sculptures by Picasso, Rodin, Miro and Henry Moore are artfully arranged on the grass-covered grounds, while another 300 or so paintings, glass art and tapestries are housed in several pavilions.  The area is well-known for its natural onsen (hot springs) and guests may rest their feet in the warm, fragrant foot bath just outside the museum.

 

Outdoor sculpture (#1), The Hakone Open-Air Museum, Hakone-machi, Kanagawa-ken, Japan

Outdoor sculpture (#1), The Hakone Open-Air Museum, Hakone-machi, Kanagawa-ken, Japan

 

“The museum began operations in 1969 as the first open-air art museum in Japan.  Constantly changing with the seasons, the spectacular grounds of the museum are the permanent home for approximately 120 works by well-known modern and contemporary sculptors.  There are also five exhibition halls, including the Picasso Pavilion, as well as art pieces that children can play with, and a variety of other facilities where visitors can relax and enjoy the splendor of art in nature.” — The Hakone Open-AirMuseum

 

A ceramic sculpture by Pablo Picasso in front of The Picasso Collection exhibition building, The Hakone Open-Air Museum, Hakone-machi, Kanagawa-ken, Japan

A ceramic sculpture by Pablo Picasso in front of The Picasso Collection exhibition building, The Hakone Open-Air Museum, Hakone-machi, Kanagawa-ken, Japan

 

“The Picasso Collection is an art gallery devoted to one of the greatest artists of the 20th century, Pablo Picasso.  Built in 1984, the gallery presents a wide range of works, including paintings, drawings, prints, sculptures, ceramics, golden objects, silver compotes, genmail, and tapestries, as well as photographs of the artist’s studio, revealing his vast imagination and giving us a look into his personal life.” — The Hakone Open-Air Museum

 

A genmail reproduction of a painting by Pablo Picasso, The Hakone Open-Air Museum, Hakone-machi, Kanagawa-ken, Japan

A genmail reproduction of a painting by Pablo Picasso, The Hakone Open-Air Museum, Hakone-machi, Kanagawa-ken, Japan

 

“Genmail is a technique used to reproduce works in glass by adjusting the depth of color through overlaid glass fragments.  The artist places glass fragments on a light table while looking at the original work.  Finally, the glass fragments are fired in a kiln.  The works are back  lit when displayed, and the brilliance of the light shining through the glass and melting into the color produces a unique clarity and depth.” — The Hakone Open-Air Museum

 

Outdoor sculpture (#2), The Hakone Open-Air Museum, Hakone-machi, Kanagawa-ken, Japan

Outdoor sculpture (#2), The Hakone Open-Air Museum, Hakone-machi, Kanagawa-ken, Japan

 

Outdoor sculpture (#3), The Hakone Open-Air Museum, Hakone-machi, Kanagawa-ken, Japan

Outdoor sculpture (#3), The Hakone Open-Air Museum, Hakone-machi, Kanagawa-ken, Japan

 

Outdoor sculpture (#4), The Hakone Open-Air Museum, Hakone-machi, Kanagawa-ken, Japan

Outdoor sculpture (#4), The Hakone Open-Air Museum, Hakone-machi, Kanagawa-ken, Japan

 

Outdoor sculpture (#5), The Hakone Open-Air Museum, Hakone-machi, Kanagawa-ken, Japan

Outdoor sculpture (#5), The Hakone Open-Air Museum, Hakone-machi, Kanagawa-ken, Japan

 

Outdoor sculpture (#6), The Hakone Open-Air Museum, Hakone-machi, Kanagawa-ken, Japan

Outdoor sculpture (#6), The Hakone Open-Air Museum, Hakone-machi, Kanagawa-ken, Japan

 

For some of the best traditional Houtou noodles (in soup) in the Fuji Lakes region, we ate lunch at Houtou Fudou (located inside a modern architectural “marvel” of a building, near L

For some of the best traditional Houtou noodles (in soup) in the Fuji Lakes region, we ate lunch at Houtou Fudou (located inside a modern architectural “marvel” of a building, near Lake Kawaguchi, Yamanashi, Japan

 

A close up of the traditional Houtou noodles (in soup) for lunch at Houtou Fudou, near Lake Kawaguchi, Yamanashi, Japan

A close up of the traditional Houtou noodles (in soup) for lunch at Houtou Fudou, near Lake Kawaguchi, Yamanashi, Japan

 

Itchiku Kubota Art Museum Garden (entry), near Lake Kawaguchi, Yamanashi, Japan

Itchiku Kubota Art Museum Garden (entry), near Lake Kawaguchi, Yamanashi, Japan

 

“In 1994, a dyeing artist, Itchiku Kubota (1917–2003), built the Itchiku Kubota Art Museum, Yamanashi, Japan, in a perfect location with a majestic view of Mt. Fuji and the serene Lake Kawaguchi.  The museum permanently exhibits Itchiku Tsujigahana-dyed works with the two main themes of ‘trinity of humans, nature and art’ and ‘the center of new culture and art.’  The whole museum, including the garden, buildings and furnishings represents ‘the world of Itchiku Kubota.’

“At the age of 20, Itchiku Kubota encountered a ‘Tsujigahana-dyeing’ slip made in the Muromachi period [approximately 1336 to 1573, marking the governance of the Muromachi or Ashikaga shogunate] at the Tokyo National Museum.  He was fascinated by its beauty and devoted himself to reproduce the technique in the modern world.  After returning from imprisonment in Siberia [he was captured by the Russians in World War II], Itchiku started to create his own ‘Tsujigahana’ at the age of 40.  After twenty years of perseverance, he produced a piece and named it ‘Itchiku Tsujigahana’ when he was 60.  Since his first exhibition in 1977, many exhibitions have been held all over the world.  He was awarded the ‘Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Letters’ in 1990, and the ‘Cultural Merit Award’ from the Agency for Cultural Affairs in 1993.  His achievement is acclaimed worldwide.  Itchiku Kubota passed away on April 26, 2003 at the age of 85.

“Tsujigahana-Dyeing is a pattern dyeing style that flourished in the Muromachi period.  It started with the kimono of commoners, and later became popular among the aristocrats, but disappeared early in the Edo period.  There are some theories for is disappearance, but the dominant one is the appearance of Yuzen, which allowed for more free expression.

“The ‘Symphony of Light’ is the lifework of Itchiku and our final goal is to integrate 80 works representing nature’s ‘four seasons’ and his own ‘universe.’  Currently 46 works, including fall, winter, and several works of the universe, have been completed.” — Itchiku Kubota Art Museum Brochure

 

Several of the Tsujigahana-Dyed kimonos making up part of the "Symphony of Light" by Itchiku Kubota, Itchiku Kubota Art Museum, near Lake Kawaguchi, Yamanashi, Japan; source www.japan-gu

Several of the Tsujigahana-dyed kimonos making up part of the “Symphony of Light” by Itchiku Kubota, Itchiku Kubota Art Museum, near Lake Kawaguchi, Yamanashi, Japan; photo courtesy of http://www.japan-guide.com

 

The artist Itchiku Kubota_s studo_s garden view at the rear of the Itchiku Kubota Art Museum, near Lake Kawaguchi, Yamanashi, Japan

The artist Itchiku Kubota’s studo’s garden view at the rear of the Itchiku Kubota Art Museum, near Lake Kawaguchi, Yamanashi, Japan

 

The Hermitage Museum: Modern Art, St. Petersburg, Russia

The Alexander Column in Palace Square (viewed from the new Hermitage galleries) is a monument to the Russian military victory in the war with Napoleon's France, named after Emperor Alexander I, St. Petersburg, Russia

The Alexander Column in Palace Square (viewed from the new Hermitage galleries) is a monument to the Russian military victory in the war with Napoleon’s France, named after Emperor Alexander I, St. Petersburg, Russia

 

“The Alexander Column (Aleksandrovskaia Kolonna), the focal point of Palace Square, was designed by the French-born architect Auguste de Montferrand and built between 1830 and 1834.  The monument is 155 feet 8 inches tall and is topped with a statue of an angel holding a cross (the face of the angel is said to be modeled on the face of Emperor Alexander I).  The body of the column is made of a single monolith of red granite, which stands 83 feet 6 inches high and about 11 feet 5 inches in diameter.  It is a terrific feat of engineering that this enormous column, weighing an incredible 1,322,760 pounds (600 tons), was erected in under 2 hours without the aid of modern cranes and engineering machines.” – saint-petersburg.com

“The Hermitage’s superb collection of Modern European Art, the bulk of which is made up of French impressionist and post-impressionist painting, is divided between those works that were received into the Hermitage collections after the Revolution, and art seized from Germany after World War II.” – saint-petersburg.com

 

Pierre Bonnard (1867 – 1947) “On the Mediterranean (Tryptch)”, 1911, oil on canvas, Acquired in 1948 from the State Museum of Modern Western Art, Moscow; formerly in the I.A. Morozov collection; The Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia

Pierre Bonnard (1867 – 1947) “On the Mediterranean (Tryptch)”, 1911, oil on canvas, Acquired in 1948 from the State Museum of Modern Western Art, Moscow; formerly in the I.A. Morozov collection; The Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia

 

Pierre Bonnard (1867 – 1947) “Le soir a Paris [Evening in Paris]”, 1911, oil on canvas, from the I. A. Morozov collection; The Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia

Pierre Bonnard (1867 – 1947) “Le soir a Paris [Evening in Paris]”, 1911, oil on canvas, from the I. A. Morozov collection; The Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia

Pablo Picasso (1881 – 1973) “Two Sisters (the Visit)”, 1902, oil on canvas, Acquired in 1948 from the State Museum of Modern Western Art, Moscow; formerly in the S. I. Shchukin collection; The Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia

Pablo Picasso (1881 – 1973) “Two Sisters (the Visit)”, 1902, oil on canvas, Acquired in 1948 from the State Museum of Modern Western Art, Moscow; formerly in the S. I. Shchukin collection; The Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia

 

Pablo Picasso (1881 – 1973) “Table au café (Bouteille de pernod) [Table in a Café (Bottle of Pernod)]”, 1912, from the S. I. Shchukin collection; The Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia

Pablo Picasso (1881 – 1973) “Table au café (Bouteille de pernod) [Table in a Café (Bottle of Pernod)]”, 1912, from the S. I. Shchukin collection; The Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia

Pablo Picasso (1881 – 1973) “Instruments de musique [Musical Instruments]”, 1912, from the S. I. Shchukin collection; The Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia

Pablo Picasso (1881 – 1973) “Instruments de musique [Musical Instruments]”, 1912, from the S. I. Shchukin collection; The Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia

Henri Matisse (1869 – 1954), “Dance”, 1910, oil on canvas, Acquired in 1948 from the State Museum of Modern Western Art, Moscow; formerly in the S. I. Shchukin collection; The Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia

Henri Matisse (1869 – 1954), “Dance”, 1910, oil on canvas, Acquired in 1948 from the State Museum of Modern Western Art, Moscow; formerly in the S. I. Shchukin collection; The Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia

 

“The Hermitage has a magnificent collection of close to forty works by…seminal artist [Henri Matisse (1869 – 1954)]… focus our attention on the iconic Dance (1910) where Matisse’s unique and evocative use of color and form opened a new artistic language.  This work, along with its counterpart Music on the opposite wall, was commissioned Sergei Shchukin, one of the most avid and forward-thinking Russian collectors of contemporary French art, to whom, thanks to the Russian Revolution’s confiscation frenzy, the Hermitage owes much.  Two years before starting on these works, Matisse wrote ‘What interests me most is neither still life or landscape, but the human figure.  It is that which best permits me to express my so-to-speak religious awe towards life.’  We see this passion reflected in Dance, where five figures, dancing in a rhythmic circle and painted in an intense reddish-orange, are set against the flat, cool green of the earth and the intense blue of the sky, uniting Human, Heaven, and Earth.  There is no superfluous line or emotion in this powerful, energy-packed work that is commonly considered a key point in both Matisse’s career and in the development of modern art.” – saint-petersburg.com

 

Henri Matisse (1869 – 1954), “Portrait of Lydia Delectorskaya”, 1947, oil on canvas, Donated by L. N. Delectorskaya in 1967; The Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia

Henri Matisse (1869 – 1954), “Portrait of Lydia Delectorskaya”, 1947, oil on canvas, Donated by L. N. Delectorskaya in 1967; The Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Picasso Sculpture” (exhibition), The Museum of Modern Art, New York, New York, USA

"Still life with Guitar". Variant state.  Paris, 1913.  Paperboard, paper, thread  string, twine, and coated wire. The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Gift of the artist.  In "Picasso Sculpture", MOMA, New York, NY, USA

“Still life with Guitar”. Variant state. Paris, 1913. Paperboard, paper, thread string, twine, and coated wire. The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Gift of the artist. In “Picasso Sculpture”, MOMA, New York, NY, USA

We visited the Museum of Modern Art in New York City to enjoy the widely acclaimed exhibition Picasso Sculpture.  And yes, it was as good, or better than the buildup in the New York Times review by critic Roberta Smith on 10 Sept. 2015: “Many exhibitions are good, some are great and a very few are tantamount to works of art in their own right — for their clarity, lyricism and accumulative wisdom.  The Museum of Modern Art’s staggering Picasso Sculpture is in the third category.  Large, ambitious and unavoidably, dizzyingly peripatetic, this is a once-in-a-lifetime event.  It sustains its vision through a ring of 11 grand spaces on the museum’s fourth floor, tracing the serial genre-bending forays into three dimensions wrought by this 20th-century titan of painting.  Each bout lasted a few years and was different from the one before, and each has been given its own gallery, more or less.”  [Note to our readers:  MOMA’s gallery guide notes are the basis for the descriptions that follow.]

Picasso Sculpture is a sweeping survey of Pablo Picasso’s innovative and influential work in three dimensions. This [is] the first such museum exhibition in the United States in nearly half a century.

Over the course of his long career, Picasso devoted himself to sculpture wholeheartedly, if episodically, using both traditional and unconventional materials and techniques. Unlike painting, in which he was formally trained and through which he made his living, sculpture occupied a uniquely personal and experimental status for Picasso. He approached the medium with the freedom of a self-taught artist, ready to break all the rules. This attitude led him to develop a deep fondness for his sculptures, to which the many photographs of his studios and homes bear witness. Treating them almost as members of his household, he cherished the sculptures’ company and enjoyed re-creating them in a variety of materials and situations. Picasso kept the majority in his private possession during his lifetime. It was only in 1966, through the large Paris retrospective Hommage à Picasso, that the public became fully aware of this side of his work. Following that exhibition, in 1967 The Museum of Modern Art organized The Sculpture of Picasso, which until now was the first and only exhibition on this continent to display a large number of the artist’s sculptures.

Picasso Sculpture focuses on the artist’s lifelong work with sculpture, with a particular focus on his use of materials and processes. The exhibition, which features more than 100 sculptures, complemented by selected works on paper and photographs, aims to advance the understanding of what sculpture was for Picasso, and of how he revolutionized its history through a lifelong commitment to constant reinvention. The exhibition is organized in chapters corresponding to the distinct periods during which Picasso devoted himself to sculpture, each time exploring with fresh intensity the modern possibilities of this ancient art form. Organized by The Museum of Modern Art in collaboration with the Musée national Picasso – Paris.

THE CUBIST YEARS, 1912 – 1915.  During the fall of 1912, Picasso returned to making sculpture after a hiatus of three years.  Among the first works he realized was a cardboard Guitar [pictured at the top of this blog post], whose open structure allowed him to introduce negative space into the solid forms customary for sculpture at that time.  Its humble still-life subject was also a first, as was Picasso’s decision to employ simple craft processes like cutting, folding and threading.  In early 1914, Picasso reiterated his Guitar in sheet metal…The hybrid character of Picasso’s Guitar is typical of the works in this gallery.  Picasso’s ongoing project during these years was to upend categorical distinctions:  Things that hang on the wall nevertheless incorporate space, along with a dazzling range of found materials…

In spring 1914 Picasso created an edition of six unique versions of the sculpture Glass of AbsintheThese are reunited here for the first time since they were in the artist’s studio.  Conventionally, works within a bronze edition look the same.  Working against tradition, Picasso decorated the surface of each of his six small sculptures differently.  Each incorporates a store-bought absinthe spoon, which holds a painted bronze depiction of the sugar cube over which the liquer would be poured into the glass.

"Glass of Absinthe". Paris, 1914.  Painted bronze with absinthe spoon.  In "Picasso Sculpture", MOMA, New York, NY, USA

“Glass of Absinthe”. Paris, 1914. Painted bronze with absinthe spoon. In “Picasso Sculpture”, MOMA, New York, NY, USA

THE MONUMENT TO APOLLINAIRE, 1927 – 1931

Picasso’s reengagement with sculpture at the end of the 1920s had roots in a commission to create a monument for the tomb of the poet and critic Guilluame Apollinaire [a close friend], who had died in 1918 and was buried in Pere Lachaise cemetery in Paris…Despite several rounds of effort, none of the multiple ideas that Picasso offered the memorial committee were accepted.  Picasso’s monumental Woman in the Garden was his final and most ambitious effort to create a memorial sculpture for Apollinaire.  It is composed from a large number of salvaged metal elements, welded together and unified by an overall coating of white paint…it reflects in form and spirit Picasso’s admiration for the African and Oceanic figures he avidly collected.

"Woman in the Garden". Paris, 1929-30.  Welded and painted iron.  Musee national Picasso-Paris. Dation Pablo Picasso   In "Picasso Sculpture", MOMA, New York, NY, USA

“Woman in the Garden”. Paris, 1929-30. Welded and painted iron. Musee national Picasso-Paris. Dation Pablo Picasso In “Picasso Sculpture”, MOMA, New York, NY, USA

THE BOISGELOUP SCULPTURE STUDIO, 1930 – 1932

In June 1930 Picasso purchased the Château de Boisgeloup, a property forty-five miles (72 kilometers) northwest of Paris.  There, for the first time, he had enough space to set up his own sculpture studio, converting the horse stables for this purpose….His signature Boisgeloup material…was luminous white plaster, which was relatively easy to obtain, dried quickly, and could be modeled, incised, carved, and added to over time.  Working intensively with plaster… Picasso commenced an entirely new phase of sculpture making that would last for about four years. 

It was in Boisgeloup that Picasso produced his first truly monumental figures in the round, including an imposing series of simultaneously female and phallic heads.  There is a pronounced resemblance between the features of these works and those of Marie-Thérèse Walter, who was his lover during this period.  They are hardly, however, literal depictions.  Their extraordinary forms provide a vivid parallel to the Surrealist movement’s contemporaneous embrace of overtly erotic, metamorphic imagery.  Noses, mouths, and eyes double as male and female sexual organs, and the sculptures’ surfaces conjure both the softness of flesh and the unforgiving hardness of bone.  Picasso’s love of visual punning, along with his ability to render the familiar deeply strange, is prominently on display in these works.

"Head of a Woman". Boisgeloup, 1932.  Plaster.  The Museum of Modern Art, New York.  Gift of Jacqueline Picasso in honor of the Museum's continuous commitment to Pablo Picasso's art.   In "Picasso Sculpture", MOMA, New York, NY, USA

“Head of a Woman”. Boisgeloup, 1932. Plaster. The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Gift of Jacqueline Picasso in honor of the Museum’s continuous commitment to Pablo Picasso’s art. In “Picasso Sculpture”, MOMA, New York, NY, USA

THE WAR YEARS, 1939 – 1945

Picasso was one of the few artists condemned by the Germans as “degenerate” to remain in occupied Paris during World War II.  Having declined many offers of emigration, he lived and worked at 7, rue des Grands-Augustines, on the Left Bank…Picasso again began modeling, somehow managing to obtain enough clay and plaster to produce an imposing population of human and animal figures for his crowded spaces.  All bronze casting was prohibited, as precious metal was reserved for wartime purposes.  But Picasso had his sculptures secretly transported to and from the foundry by night;  in this dangerous context, the traditional practice of bronze casting became a bold act of defiance…

The largest work of this period is the seven-foot-tall Man with a Lamb, modeled in clay in early 1943.  Although this sculpture was made in one day, frantically assembled on an armature that was too weak for the quantities of clay Picasso piled upon it, it was the product of months of reflection and sketches dating back to the previous summer.

"Man with a Lamb". Paris, 1943.  Bronze.  Philadelphia Museum of Art.  Gift of R. Sturgis and Marion B. F. Ingersoll.  In "Picasso Sculpture", MOMA, New York, NY, USA

“Man with a Lamb”. Paris, 1943. Bronze. Philadelphia Museum of Art. Gift of R. Sturgis and Marion B. F. Ingersoll. In “Picasso Sculpture”, MOMA, New York, NY, USA

Picasso’s fondness for witty assemblage did not altogether disappear during these somber times.  Bull’s Head is simply a strategic pairing of a leather bicycle seat and a pair of metal handlebars, later cast in bronze.  [Like the guitar, the bull is a recurring subject of Picasso’s sculptures over the years, particularly as he changes media.]

"Bull's Head". Paris, 1942.  Bronze.  Private colleciton.  In "Picasso Sculpture", MOMA, New York, NY, USA

“Bull’s Head”. Paris, 1942. Bronze. Private colleciton. In “Picasso Sculpture”, MOMA, New York, NY, USA

VALLAURIS CERAMICS AND ASSEMBLAGES, 1945 – 1953

Paris was liberated in August 1944, and the following summer Picasso visited the French Riviera for the first time in many years.  This renewed contact with the Mediterranean’s sun, sand, and light, along with its deep connections to classical Greek and Roman culture, brought about a new phase in Picasso’s sculpture.  During the summer of 1946 he visited the ceramics workshop of George and Suzanne Ramie in the town of Vallauris and began to experiment in a medium that dated back to ancient times but was new to him.  Over the course of the next few years, his enthusiasm for ceramics led him to make the town of Vallauris his primary residence, and to produce ceramics works in great numbers.

"Vase -- Woman". Vallauris, c. 1948. White earthenware.  Musee national Picasso-Paris. Dation Pablo Picasso and "Standing Bull (Vase)". Vallauris, 1947 or 1948.  White earthenware.  Musee Picasso, Antibes

“Vase — Woman”. Vallauris, c. 1948. White earthenware. Musee national Picasso-Paris. Dation Pablo Picasso and “Standing Bull (Vase)”. Vallauris, 1947 or 1948. White earthenware. Musee Picasso, Antibes

VALLAURIS AND CANNES ASSEMBLAGES, 1952 – 1958

Picasso’s work in assemblage intensified throughout the early 1950’s, as he produced larger and ever more complex sculptures constructed from everyday objects…No matter how improbably the sculpture’s components were, or how whimsical their subjects, naturalism was always Picasso’s goal.  Little Girl Jumping Rope seems to defy gravity as much as does a real child in midair.

"Little Girl Jumping Rope". Vallauris, 1950-54.  Bronze.  Musee national Picasso-Paris.  Dation Pablo Picasso.  In "Picasso Sculpture", MOMA, New York, NY, USA

“Little Girl Jumping Rope”. Vallauris, 1950-54. Bronze. Musee national Picasso-Paris. Dation Pablo Picasso. In “Picasso Sculpture”, MOMA, New York, NY, USA

The next chapter of Picasso’s sculptural work took an unpredictable turn away from the robustly modeled forms of the Vallauris ceramics and assemblages toward constructions that were decidedly planar and frontal in nature.  In 1955, the artist moved with his partner Jacqueline Roque to the villa La Californie, outside Cannes.  This elegant residential neighborhood had no junkyard readily at hand, as in Vallauris, but the artist found new ways to satisfy his passion for scavenging.  Wood sculptures made from lumber scraps and other salvaged items took center stage in the years 1956 – 58.  Bits of old furniture, crates, and tree branches from Picasso’s garden now formed the basis for his playful transformations.  A commanding troupe of six charismatic Bathers materialized from a variety of wooden planks and found objects, including painting stretchers from his studio.  Arranged in a sequence devised by the artist, it is the only multi-figured sculptural ensemble of Picasso’s career.

"The Bathers...". Vallauris, 1956.  Wood.  Staatsgalerie, Stuttgart.  In "Picasso Sculpture", MOMA, New York, NY, USA

“The Bathers…”. Vallauris, 1956. Wood. Staatsgalerie, Stuttgart. In “Picasso Sculpture”, MOMA, New York, NY, USA

The bull reemerges in this phase as a wood construct:

"Bull". Cannes, 1958.  Blockboard, palm frond, and various other found objects.  The Museum of Modern Art, New York.  Gift of Jacqueline Picasso.  In "Picasso Sculpture", MOMA, New York, NY, USA

“Bull”. Cannes, 1958. Blockboard, palm frond, and various other found objects. The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Gift of Jacqueline Picasso. In “Picasso Sculpture”, MOMA, New York, NY, USA

SHEET METAL SCULPTURES, 1954 – 1964

Picasso’s final phase of making sculpture centered on sheet metal, a popular material for design objects as well as for utilitarian purposes.  In 1954 he became acquainted with the products of a commercial sheet metal workshop in the town of Vallauris, where he was living.  That year, and again in 1957, he created a number of heads in cut and folded paper or cardboard and had these templates fabricated as sheet metal sculptures at 1:1 scale.  Picasso played with the possibilities of multiple perspectives through both the contours of the metal planes and the painted details he applied after the sculpture was assembled.

"Head of a Woman". Mougins, 1962.  Painted sheet metal and iron wire.  Musee national Picasso-Paris.  Dation Pablo Picasso.  In "Picasso Sculpture", MOMA, New York, NY, USA

“Head of a Woman”. Mougins, 1962. Painted sheet metal and iron wire. Musee national Picasso-Paris. Dation Pablo Picasso. In “Picasso Sculpture”, MOMA, New York, NY, USA

"Maquette for Richard J. Daley Center Sculpture". 1964.  Simulated and oxidized welded steel.  The Art Institute of Chicago.  Gift of Pablo Picasso.  In "Picasso Sculpture", MOMA, New York, NY, USA

“Maquette for Richard J. Daley Center Sculpture”. 1964. Simulated and oxidized welded steel. The Art Institute of Chicago. Gift of Pablo Picasso. In “Picasso Sculpture”, MOMA, New York, NY, USA

"Woman with Hat". Cannes, 1961-Mopugins, 1963.  Painted sheet metal.  Fondation Beyeler, Riehen-Basel, Beyeler Collection.  In "Picasso Sculpture", MOMA, New York, NY, USA

“Woman with Hat”. Cannes, 1961-Mopugins, 1963. Painted sheet metal. Fondation Beyeler, Riehen-Basel, Beyeler Collection. In “Picasso Sculpture”, MOMA, New York, NY, USA

Roberta Smith continues her critical analysis of the exhibition: “Like its predecessor, this exhibition raises the question of whether Picasso was a better sculptor or painter. It’s a tough call. In each medium, he disrupted art with a track-switching masterpiece: In painting there is the vehement Demoiselles d’Avignon of 1907, on view in the fifth-floor galleries, one of the central pylons on which he and Braque erected Cubism. And he did art perhaps an even greater favor with the boxy constructed wall piece Guitar — a 1914 work that initiates modern sculpture by establishing space itself — hollowness, volume, weightlessness — as one of its primary materials.

Picasso was more completely himself in three dimensions: a magician, a magpie genius, a comedic entertainer and a tinkerer with superb reflexes. His many gifts — versatility, voraciousness, a need for constant reinvention — are more sharply apparent in real space and tangible materials. We can’t miss his consummate grasp of tactility and form or of the potential for found objects and materials to lead double lives. Screws could be legs of a girl reading a book. A spigot could be the crest of a crane whose body and tail feathers were once the head of a shovel. A small flat-faced deity carved from a scrap of wood is reddened and rubbed until it looks like ancient terra cotta”.