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Europe in the Age of Picasso, 1900-1973
Bechtler Museum of Modern Art
Pablo Picasso (1881–1973) is widely celebrated for his remarkably multifaceted art practice, which kept pace with the rapid technological and cultural developments of the 20th century and often influenced or anticipated attendant shifts in artmaking.
As museums and galleries around the world mark the 50th anniversary of the Spanish artist’s death, the Bechtler is pleased to present Europe in the Age of Picasso, 1900–1973. Drawn entirely from the museum’s holdings, this exhibition brings together 125 works by over 50 artists who were active in Europe alongside Picasso and shared his dedication to innovation and experimentation.
The trove of 20th-century European art in the Bechtler’s collection provides a dynamic context for the art world that Picasso inhabited and profoundly impacted. A quick survey of the seven decades represented in the exhibition reveals the pace of dramatic change that defined the period. At the outset of the century, Edgar Degas created his signature Impressionist pastels capturing fleeting sensations of physicality and movement. In 1918, Le Corbusier developed a structured visual vocabulary based on streamlined, machine-like forms. Dada and Surrealist artist Max Ernst conversely embraced irreverence and irrationality over order and reason. From the 1930s through the 1960s, Barbara Hepworth made pioneering advancements in abstract sculpture. After the Second World War, CoBrA artist Karel Appel painted exuberant compositions using bold colors and frenzied lines. In the 1960s and 1970s, Daniel Spoerri and Dieter Roth created assemblages out of everyday objects and foods, Niki de Saint Phalle sculpted her voluptuous, vibrant “Nanas” celebrating the female form, and Victor Vasarely experimented with geometry and color to produce mind-bending optical effects.
Europe in the Age of Picasso, 1900–1973 complements Charlotte’s presentation of the nationally traveling exhibition Picasso Landscapes: Out of Bounds, now on view next door at the Mint Museum Uptown.