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Article: Picasso sculptures at MoMA

Picasso sculptures at MoMA

Last month I had the opportunity to see the Picasso sculptures at MoMA and below is a little recap of the visit.

Let me preface the post by saying that I am no expert on the subject, I am a self -taught artist and I enjoy art in all its forms. This exhibit was appropriately described in an article in New York Times review “Many exhibitions are good, some are great and a very few are tantamount to works of art in their own right.”

The superbly curated works spread over several rooms and loaned from all over the world, an astounding 140 pieces, reflects the evolution of Picasso’s work and each room is indicative of a particular phase in his life.

Below is just a glimpse into Picasso’s sculptural world.

The first room was graced by the “Head of a woman” is a portrait of Fernande, Picasso’s mistress at the time. The influence of African art mixed with cubism is apparent here. If you look closely you can see the landscape on her forehead and hair.

Picasso created “Guitar” using cardboard, string glue, a  cubist three- dimensional collage with a phenomenal use of negative space. He sculpted an artist’s view of something that was already perfectly made by us. Picasso later remade the original in metal and both were present at the exhibit

The guitars preside over the entire collection of all six “Glass of Absinthe” sculptures. Seen from certain angles one can possibly make out a drunken face (or not). A real absinthe spoon is integrated between the modeled sugar and glass.

“Woman in the garden”. Picasso was not trained in metalwork but collaborated on the sculpture which has some very complicated welding. Painted white, it affords a sense of lightweight airiness.

The gigantic tumescent heads of Marie-Thérèse, Picasso’s long-time mistress and muse, in white plaster, dominates a large room.

I came across a group of school children on a tour with their teacher and I can vouch that no guide could ever give a better perspective of these sculptures as these untrained and fresh eyes!

Just to give you an example, take a look at the ceramic sculpture below

One of the star students proudly told the teacher he knew exactly what this was, upon the teacher’s enquiry he revealed it was BB-8 from the Star Wars movie. What can we say? Picasso was well ahead of his times!

As I unashamedly followed the group, to hear the viewpoints another observation

We could not mistake it for anything besides what the title states “Woman reading”. My young critics, however, debated the possibility of it being a mermaid, a boat or a couch… all quite possible, when you take a step back and look at it with a different eye.

My two personal favorites both with simple and brilliant use of materials

Baboon and Young

I will take a bet that most of us did not pick up on the toy car that makes the baboon’s head.


A bicycle seat and handlebars are all it takes to transform some inanimate objects into the head a bull. The simplicity and creativity are the true beauty of this piece.

Picasso is universally known for his paintings but had no formal training as a sculptor and was able to approach this field with the abandon of a self-taught artist, stepping outside the norm laid down by fellow artists of the time.

You can read more about the exhibit here .  He cherished his sculptures and had them scattered around his house and the public became fully  aware of this side of his work only after the exhibit in 1966.

I hope you enjoyed some snippets from my day as much as I enjoyed writing about it.

Until next time, cheers!


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