Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Picasso's Last Thought

Pablo Picasso was undoubtedly the most influential artist of the 20th century having produced more than 50,000 works in a variety of mediums, including (mostly) painting, sculpture, illustration, lithography and others. He was a creative force who stretched the boundaries of what could be, and he was constantly innovating.

In 2007 New York's Whitney Museum curated a collection designed to show how Picasso influenced American artists. When this exhibit was taken to the road we were able to see it at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. It was impressive. Each room of the gallery contained a Picasso work and a variety of ways that same piece showed up in others' works after having been blended into their own imaginations, reformulated and reiterated in new forms, often quite consciously.
I remember my own first brush with an original Picasso. Actually, it was a whole room full of early Picasso's at a museum in New York City. I was left breathless. As a young painter, I was awed. The beauty, the unveiling of technique, the wonderful painterliness, the simplicity in complexity. All served to inspire.

When Picasso died on April 8, 1973, I was in my apartment just off the South Green at Ohio University. I was sitting on the floor leaning against a wall. Though half a world away, I knew he was departing. The drawing here was Picasso's last thought.

No comments: