Being overseas in the USA for the last couple of weeks gave me a chance to visit a few galleries, museums and historical homes that I would not otherwise have had an opportunity to explore.
I was excited to attend a small Picasso exhibition at the Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art in Las Vegas (one of the more tasteful things happening in that city at the time!).
This exhibition presented 43 artworks covering oil painting, linocuts and lithography. Some pieces were stage prints building up to finished imagery, so not all 43 were finished pieces.
Highly featured was the five-colour linocut Jacqueline with a Multicolored Straw Hat. I feel fairly confident including this image on my learning log as it is published in their advertising leaflet (which is where this image is from) available in every event outlet in Las Vegas and is able to be viewed on the Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art on-line virtual tour, as well as being freely available on Google image search.
I’m impressed with the large bold strokes, the sketcherly impression of the face and the strength of colour throughout.
Here, from the exhibition on-line virtual tour, you can see the layering and building of the stages which I was lucky to view close-up.
In my tutor report covering my recent work, just received, she has commented on my colour choices and that I might like to consider looking at other options and selecting more primary and secondary colours instead of mixing tertiary colours as often as I do. In the build-up to the final image of Jacqueline with a Multicolored Straw Hat I can appreciate exactly what she is trying to show me. These crisp, clear colours have combined to create new options but all have retained a clean, fresh and lively appearance. The picture appears dynamic without being inelegant or unbalanced. I feel the amount of plain paper both surrounding the image and within it add to the balance substantially (sorry about the red edging from the catalogue).
The other pieces I focused on were a series of 18 lithographs entitled Two Nude Women.
Above you can see them hung along the wall in chronological order and I was able to closely follow the development of his ideas. The images were formed by drawing on stone, a grease-like substance was applied as a resist where needed before the print was taken. The same stone was used over and over and as it became worn, or etched, in places and was reworked for future prints it is possible to see these marks coming through which added to the interest in later pieces.
This series of states commenced in October 1945 with a very realistic interpretation of the two women, one lying and the other sitting nearby (Google shows many images and covers quite a few of the progressive states). As he moves through the various stages the imagery becomes more fluid, more stylised and finally more abstract. I found the power here to be in the sheer number of pieces and the evolving states as they changed from something very attractive, easily recognisable but without a huge amount of emotion or feeling (I thought) through to pieces that were innovative, portrayed sinuous movement, abstraction of shape and positioning. The final piece of the series was produced in February 1946 and bore little resemblance to his start-point.
This was an excellent lesson in drawing, continually working the same thoughts but pushing the ideas, keeping the concentration on one subject matter but looking at it differently and letting the image loosen and adapt.
A thoroughly interesting and informative couple of hours.
http://www.bellagio.com/attractions/gallery-of-fine-art.aspx – information and on-line virtual tour
Exhibition promotional leaflet
Picasso in Vegas! It must have been a bit of a shock!