September 5, 2016

Picasso @ The Menil Collection, Houston, TX

Picasso The Line
The Menil Collection, Houston, Texas

September 16, 2016 - January 8, 2017

Supremely gifted as a draftsman and fascinated from an early age by the highly linear art of Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres, Pablo Picasso made line drawings during each stage of his career, from the Blue and Rose Periods to Cubism to his Classical Period and beyond. The Menil Collection is the first museum to provide a full-scale exploration of this distinctive aspect of his art, in the exhibition Picasso The Line. Picasso’s work convinced John and Dominique de Menil where other modern art failed. Initially reluctant to engage with the art of their time, as Mrs. de Menil stated, “The reservations that at first tempered admiration vanished before the genius of the greatest artist of our time.”

Presented exclusively at the Menil Collection, where it will be on view from September 16, 2016 through January 8, 2017, Picasso The Line is organized by guest curator Carmen Giménez, founding director of the Museo Picasso Málaga, whose previous exhibitions have included the groundbreaking Picasso and the Age of Iron (1993) and Picasso Black and White (2012-13) for the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York. Clare Elliott, Associate Curator at the Menil Collection, has managed the exhibition on behalf of the museum.

Said Menil Director Rebecca Rabinow, “We are pleased to continue the Menil Collection’s tradition of seeking new ways of looking at and understanding the work of twentieth century masters like Pablo Picasso. With Carmen Giménez’s expertise we have assembled a carefully selected group of drawings that condenses Picasso’s vast output into an approachable and beautiful installation.”

David Breslin, the John R. Eckel, Jr. Foundation Chief Curator of the Menil Drawing Institute, added, “Carmen Giménez has created a thrilling exhibition that is retrospective in scope yet incisive in its focus. Picasso The Line brings together line drawings from all of Picasso’s most important periods and shows the extraordinary range of media in which he made these works, from pen and pencil to charcoal and papier collé. The Menil Collection has a longstanding commitment to drawing as a distinct art form, and this exhibition demonstrates the conceptual and material richness the medium affords. ”

Picasso The Line will present more than 90 works on paper from public and private collections in the United States and Europe, dating from 1901-02 (shortly after Picasso settled in Paris) through 1970, not long before his death in 1973. The exhibition includes seldom-seen drawings by Picasso from the Menil’s holdings, as well as works on loan that have never before been exhibited in the United States.

Exhibition curator Carmen Giménez said, “Picasso has long been recognized as a master across disciplines and one of the most accomplished draftsmen of the last century. This exhibition will explore how he followed up on the groundbreaking lesson of Ingres, trying to resolve the three dimensions of form with merely a linear arrangement, thus relinquishing perspective. The first exhibition to fully examine Picasso’s line drawings, it will convey the critical position that these powerful works hold within his oeuvre.”

The exhibition will be accompanied by a fully illustrated, 176-page scholarly catalogue with essays by Carmen Giménez, David Breslin, and Clare Elliott. With 130 illustrations, this new book provides an insightful reevaluation of the role of line in the work of Picasso, offering new insights into his vision and working methods and illuminates his contributions to the evolution of art in the twentieth century.