Pierre Soulages invites painter Pablo Picasso to his mu-seum from 11 June to 25 September.
Ninety-five pieces, both artworks and photographs, will occupy the picture rails of the temporary exhibition room. This collection, part of which has rarely been shown, spreads over the period 1907 to 1956 and includes 32 paintings, a sculpture, 5 papers and collages, 32 etchings and lithographs, along with photographs by Michel Sima and David Douglas Duncan. These photographs shed light on the everyday life of Picasso, the man and the artist, particularly with his family and close friends.
The exhibition benefits from exceptional loans from the National Museum Picasso-Paris, Picasso museum in Antibes, and rare works from a member of the family. It is the biggest monographic exhibition on Picasso put on in the great new Midi-Pyrénées/Languedoc-Roussillon Region since the exhibition at the museum of Augustins in Toulouse in 1965.
Some of the masterpieces on display in Rodez are : Large Nude in a Red Armchair (1929, Musée national Picasso), an elongated body, with striking hues and expressive vio-lence; Three Figures under a tree (1907-1908, Musée natio-nal Picasso), strongly stylized nudes inspired by African art, like sisters of the Young Ladies of Avignon; Portrait of Dora Maar (1937, Musée national Picasso), the face of the belo-ved with distorted lines and gorgeous colours; Still Life with a Watermelon (1946- Musée Picasso in Antibes), a series of three still lifes painted in Antibes by Picasso, on loan for the first time; the small Cubist panel Tête d’Indien bariolé (1907-1908, private collection), a brutal Primitivism-style portrayal recently shown at the MomA; the sombre and disturbing Owl on a Chair (1947, private collection); 12 states of Head of a Woman (Françoise Gilot) expressed en 1946 by Picasso in lithographs (private collection). As ever with Picasso who paints his life and his women, the portraits are proofs of love and expressions of suffering at the same time.
The event, like setting up an ephemeral museum amid a monographic museum devoted to another painter Pierre Soulages, was the will of the latter. Soulages, who was involved in selecting the works, wanted a simple vision of Picasso among his family and friends, at the heart of familiar themes represented mainly by portraits, still lifes and studios. The aim of the exhibition is to attract a wide audience to a modest-sized town, thereby implying that the great masters of modern art are not just to be monopolized by big cities. The purpose is to attract, interest, educate and exhilarate.