Next summer: Cubism by the Bay

PICASSO: Masterpieces from the Musée National Picasso, Paris

On June 11, the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco will open a magnificent exhibition of more than 100 extraordinary Picasso masterpieces from the permanent collection of the world-renowned Musée National Picasso in Paris.

The Musée Picasso, which opened in 1985 in the 17th-century Hôtel Salé in the Marais district of Paris, serves as the repository for more than 3,000 works from the artist’s personal collection that passed to the museum following his death in 1973. Ranging from informal sketchbooks to finished masterpieces, this collection of “Picasso’s Picassos” confirms the artist’s statement that “I am the greatest collector of Picassos in the world.”

This once-in-a-lifetime exhibition — comprising paintings, sculptures, drawings and prints drawn from every phase of Picasso’s career — is made possible only by the temporary closure of the Musée Picasso from 2009 to 2012 for extensive renovations.

Among the highlights are the Blue Period’s “La Celestine” (1904); the Rose Period’s “Two Brothers” (1905); Expressionist studies for “Les Demoiselles d’Avignon” (1907); the Cubist “Man with a Guitar” (1911); the Neoclassical “Portrait of Olga” (1917), the artist’s wife; the proto-Surrealist “Two Women Running on a Beach” (1922); the direct gaze of the “Portrait of Dora Maar” (1937) and the late self-portrait “The Matador” (1970).
 
Sculpture is represented by six Surrealist bronze heads of the artist’s mistress, Marie-Therese Walter; the “Head of a Bull” (1942) fabricated from a bicycle seat and handlebars; the bronze “Goat” (1950); the six life-size bronze “Bathers” (1956) and numerous other works that will be familiar to viewers.

This exhibition will be on view at the de Young Museum through Sept. 25, 2011.

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