At the Dali Museum a landmark art exhibition offers a slice of the Mediterranean region, inspired by Picasso’s legendary visual innovations. The exhibition’s 79 paintings, drawings and collages – approximately half of which have never been seen in the United States – are on loan from the Musée national Picasso-Paris and the Leonard A. Lauder Cubist Collection, New York.
The show is called “Picasso and the Allure of the South” and runs through May 22. “We’re offering an exceedingly rare opportunity to experience masterworks by the artist through the innovative lens of place and cultural context,” explained Hank Hine, executive director of The Dalí at a press preview.
The last Picasso exhibit came to the Tampa Bay area in 2015. The Dali Museum’s Curator of Education, Peter Tush, explains, “That last Picasso show was completely about the Dali connection, but this current exhibit reflects Picasso’s time in the south of France and northern Spain.”
Some of the artist’s most creative periods took place during summer sojourns in the mountain communities of the Pyrenees and along the Mediterranean coast, including Céret, Sorgues, Vallauris, Horta de Ebro and Cadaqués. Picasso and the Allure of the South considers Picasso’s deep connection to this cross-cultural region, where he made many of his most important contributions to modern art.
The Dali Museum’s Curator of Special Exhibitions, William Jeffett, says Cubism is examined in places where Picasso had been when he was young, and in his teens.
Cubist paintings use rust reds, grays, gray-greens, cream and blues grading from deep to pastel. Later works, and early works – a span of 60 years – examine his excursions throughout Spain and France – mostly Southern villages.
Visitors will find various postcards on display, where we get an idea of what Cadaques looked like, his beloved village by the Sea. Collages are also on display, mixing his passion for music and dance, reminding us of his love for a young ballet dancer named Olga.
“’Picasso and the Allure of the South’ offers a rare opportunity to experience the influence of northern Spain and southern France upon Picasso’s imagination, as evidenced in his revolutionary work,” says Hine. “In that zone spanning borders, Picasso drew on the ancient impulses and cultural inspiration of this region – its peoples, poetry, music and energy – to create consummate works of art across genres.”
The Dalí Museum has been the unofficial heart of fine arts in the Tampa Bay area since its opening, in 1982.
“Picasso and the Allure of the South” presents an exceptional selection of portraits, still life’s, figural studies and landscapes, dating from 1909 to 1972, that reflect Picasso’s career-long rapport with the provinces of his homeland and southern France. It also incorporates a robust selection of archival photographs of Picasso, his friends and the regions that so powerfully impacted his vision. The exhibition is divided into four thematic sections that trace the importance of the geographic region to Picasso’s work and legacy.
Visitors to The Dalí may further their understanding of the genre of Cubism through the Museum’s exclusive, new artificial intelligence experience called YOUR PORTRAIT. Guests can have their photo transformed into a one-of-a-kind Cubist work of art. While their unique portrait is being generated, they will gain insight into Cubist imagery, compositions and color palettes alongside experiencing how the machine-learning application mimics those characteristics.
A host of public programs have been organized in conjunction with the exhibition, including in the popular Coffee with a Curator series, a lecture on the life of Pablo Picasso with the curator of education, Peter Tush, on Feb. 2; an evening of wine tasting, focused on wines from southern France on Feb. 15; a ceramic plate workshop on March 8; and the Museum’s Film Club continues during the exhibition, once-a-month, with the theme, “the power of place.” For a complete roundup of events and additional details, visit TheDali.org/events.
Advance-purchase timed tickets are required to visit The Dalí. “Picasso and the Allure of the South” is included in the price of Museum admission. Tickets are available at TheDali.org.