“There are four (Picasso) landscapes that I wish you could see. Strange to me that no one has considered him as a great landscape painter.”~~~ Alice B. Toklas, 1948
One morning back in January, Rick read an article in the Wall Street Journal about a new exhibit making the rounds in the art world. He asked me what I knew about Picasso’s landscapes. I replied that I didn’t know he ever painted landscapes. When I think of Picasso, I only think of Cubism, nothing more, and I’ll admit to not being a fan of Cubism.I get that it was cutting edge and avant-garde and all that, but cubism doesn’t appeal to me. But we do like landscapes and were curious to see what Picasso had painted that we were unaware of heretofore. So we decided to head to Charlotte to the Mint Museum and check out the exhibit titled “Out of Bounds.” Turns out that Picasso painted landscapes his entire life. News to me.
This year marks the fiftieth anniversary of the passing of Spanish artist, so there all sorts of exhibitions and events commemorating his life and works. There is an exhibit in New York entitled “Young Picasso in Paris” and one opening in Madrid entitled “Picasso and El Greco.” All the celebrations will end in December with a big international symposium in Paris. We won’t make it to that, but we did enjoy the exhibit at the Mint. We were surprised to learn that Picasso painted landscapes throughout his entire career. The exhibit starts off with a painting of Picasso’s birthplace in Spain that he painted at age 14. The last landscape was painted in 1972, the year before his death. Actually, the exhibit makes the point that Picasso used landscape painting to work through his thoughts and feelings of how the cultural world as well as the natural world around him affected and influenced him. Some of his landscapes show how much he was influenced by artists from the past and also by some of his contemporaries in the art world. In addition, he worked through landscapes to help him process and express his thoughts in the other genres he explored. The exhibit shows how he used landscapes as a springboard to other genres, such as Cubism, for which he is more famous. Picasso was witness to great changes in the world; he was born in Spain in 1881 and died in France in 1973. Also, during his lifetime, the camera became more widely available and made it simple to capture a landscape, so artists had to crank up the creative energy to keep them interesting and challenging to the public and to critics. He undoubtedly rose to the challenge; many of his landscapes take a commonplace scene and turn it into something extraordinary. To be completely honest, we are no more fans of Picasso now than we were before we saw the collection. Nonetheless, it was worthwhile because we learned a bit more about the man as well as about art in general. Plus, we had an exceptionally fun weekend with a couple of cousins and that was the best part!