Picasso and the War Years, 1937-1945

Picasso and the War Years, 1937-1945


Exhibition Examines a Critical Period in the Life and Work of the Century's Premier Artist

Press Preview: Thursday, February 4, 1999, 10 am to 2 pm
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, 1071 Fifth Avenue (at 88th Street), New York City
Remarks will begin at 11:30 am

On view at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum from February 5 to May 9, 1999, Picasso and the War Years: 1937-1945 is the first exhibition in the United States to examine this critical period in the life and work of Pablo Picasso, the century's premier artist. The exhibition focuses critical attention on the artist's response to the historical events leading from the Spanish Civil War through the Nazi occupation of France and its liberation by Allied troops. Picasso's work from this period represents some of his most powerful imagery and darkest commentary on the human condition.

Picasso and the War Years has been organized by the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco in collaboration with the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York. The curators are Steven A. Nash, Associate Director and Chief Curator, Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, with Robert Rosenblum, Stephen and Nan Swid Curator of Twentieth-Century Art, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum.

This exhibition is proudly sponsored by Delta Air Lines.

We are grateful to the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities, federal agencies whose grants have made this exhibition possible.

This exhibition is supported by an indemnity from the Federal Council on the Arts and Humanities.

"The Guggenheim Museum is delighted to present this major exhibition of Picasso's work from an enormously fertile period in his career," remarked Thomas Krens, Director of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation. "Following on the success of our 1994 exhibition Picasso and the Age of Iron, this exhibition will help further illuminate the work of perhaps the most influential artist of the twentieth century."

Picasso made reference to the war through a variety of traditional themes and motifs, among them still life, portraiture, landscape, and the nude. Although the overall mood of the work from this period is occasional relieved by hopeful and even humorous moments, there is a tendency towards evoking a bleak world of contorted forms and grayed-down colors--a picture of life strained to the brink of survival and beyond. In these works, Picasso reinterpreted established artistic conventions, infusing the traditional principles of painting and sculpture with new meaning. In particular, the vanitas and memento mori traditions of still-life painting, with their ruminations on human vanity and mortality, were given a contemporary urgency.

The installation of Picasso and the War Years will highlight the evolution of key moments and compositional themes in the artist's work. Additionally, an introductory gallery of archival posters, newsreel footage, photographs, and other historic materials will provide a historical context for the art.

The more than 75 artworks in Picasso and the War Years represent a cross-section of paintings, works on paper, and sculpture, many not previously seen in the United States. The works come from private collections and public museums throughout Europe, the United States, Australia, and Japan. Several works in the exhibition are well-known to anyone familiar with Picasso's oeuvre and have already achieved the status of icons, yet are here re-interpreted through the lens of Picasso's wartime experiences. These include Night Fishing at Antibes (1939), from the Museum of Modern Art, New York; Death's Head (1941), from Musée Picasso, Paris; Man with a Lamb (1943), from the Philadelphia Museum of Art; The Charnel House (1945), from the Museum of Modern Art, New York; and Monument to the Spanish Who Died for France (1945-47), from Museum Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid. The exhibition also includes studies for Picasso's seminal work Guernica (1937).

The exhibition is accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue by Steven A. Nash, editor, with Robert Rosenblum. The book contains full color illustrations of the works in the exhibition as well as contributions by Brigitte Baer, Michéle Cone, Michael FitzGerald, Lydia Csat~ Gasman, and Gertje Utley, and a chronology that provides a detailed timeline of the period. It is published by Thames and Hudson and the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco.

Public Programs
In conjunction with Picasso and the War Years, the Guggenheim Museum will present a wide-ranging program of activities for the public. All of the following programs are held at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum under the auspices of The Sackler Center for Arts Education, unless otherwise noted. The following schedule is subject to change; please visit the admissions desk to confirm daily schedules. For more information on any of the public programs, please call the Museum Box Office at (212) 423-3587.

Daily Tours
Public tours of Picasso and the War Years will be held daily at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. The hour-long tour will explore how Picasso's art reflected, resisted, and commemorated the Spanish Civil War and World War II. Tour times are posted at the museum's information desk in the main rotunda, where the tours also begin.

On Sunday, February 21, March 14, April 18, and May 2, at 4 pm, a certified sign-language interpreter will accompany the guide for Picasso and the War Years and will interpret the tour for hearing-impaired visitors.

A Curatorial Eye
On Friday, March 2 and April 30, at 2 pm, Guggenheim curators Robert Rosenblum and J. Fiona Ragheb, respectively, lead intimate guided tours of the exhibition. Each tour is limited to 30 people; reservations are taken at the information desk the morning of the program. Assistive Listening Devices are available and have been made possible through public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts. Support has also been provided by a generous grant from the Sprint Foundation.

Lectures and Symposia
On Saturday, March 6, at 10 am, the Guggenheim Museum hosts a panel of internationally renowned Picasso scholars in a re-examination of the work Picasso created between 1937 and 1945. Featured participants will include exhibition curators Steven A. Nash and Robert Rosenblum, as well as scholars Michael FitzGerald, Romy Golan, and Gertje Utley. Admission is $15 ($10 for members, students and seniors).

On Tuesday, April 20, at 7 pm, exhibition curator Robert Rosenblum will discuss Picasso and the War Year. Admission is $10 ($7 for members, students and seniors).

Works & Process at the Guggenheim
On Sunday and Monday, March 14 and 15, at 8 pm, the Guggenheim Museum welcomes the Picasso Dances/ABT Studio Company. The Picasso masterpiece Family of Saltimbanques (1905) comes to life as two contemporary choreographers, George Faison and Graham Lustig, explore the relationship between dance and painting. This performance will take place in the Peter B. Lewis Theater.

Programs for Families
On Sunday, February 28, from 2 to 4 pm, John Cassota will help children explore the exhibition Picasso and the War Years in the workshop "Picasso and his Symbols." Children will learn about the symbols and powerful personal sentiments that Picasso expressed through his paintings. After a tour of the exhibition, children will make drawings and collages of their favorite animals inspired by the artist's renderings of bulls, horses, doves, and goats.

On Sunday, April 25, from 2 to 4 pm, families will work with teaching artist Claire Rosenfeld to explore Picasso's interpretations of historical events in the workshop "Picasso: Imaging History." After a tour of the exhibition, children will create large-scale works depicting a significant moment in their lives using mixed-media techniques on brown paper. The fee for each program, including materials, is $10 ($5 for members), plus museum admission. Enrollment is limited to 20 children (ages 7-12) per session.

Programs for Educators
On Tuesday, February 16, from 3:30 to 5:30 pm, the Guggenheim Museum will offer a special educators' viewing of the exhibition. Educators are invited to view the exhibition and ask questions of Guggenheim Museum Education Department members. Admission is free with valid teacher identification or teacher's union card.

On Saturday, February 27, from 10 am to 1 pm, the Guggenheim Museum will offer its educators' course on the exhibition. This course is designed to help educators integrate the content of the exhibition into their own classroom curricula, and is appropriate for teachers and students of history, art, and social studies at all grade levels. The $40 fee includes an educational packet and slides. Payment and preregistration are required by February 17.

Spanish Wine Tastings
On Wednesday, March 3 and April 7, at 7 pm, the Museum Café is hosting two Spanish wine tastings with expert Bill Sciambi of Lauber Imports. Each tasting will feature a different selection of wines from a diverse range of Spanish wine-making regions, including the Ribera Del Duero, the Rias Baixes, and Jerez. Light tapas will be served to accompany the wines. The program is $45 per person ($35 for members).

January 15, 1998


Director of Public Affairs

Guggenheim Museum

Telephone: 212/423-3840

Telefax: 212/423-3787

E-mail: bennis@guggenheim.org

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