New York, NY—Helly Nahmad Gallery is pleased to announce Picasso’s Bodegones, an exhibition of Picasso’s still life from 1912 to 1947, opening on May 6, 2008.
Masterpieces culled from The Nahmad Collection will illustrate the genius of Picasso’s use of the still life as a vehicle for the advancement of Modern Art. With his fiery Spanish roots Picasso reinvents the genre of still life painting, creating Bodegones for a new age and a novel way of looking at and depicting the world.
In his recent biography of the artist's early years, John Richardson writes that Picasso explored this genre more exhaustively and developed it more imaginatively than any other artist in history.
Despite examining only one aspect of the artist’s output, Picasso’s Bodegones outlines the entire evolution of his career.
To trace his history is to trace much of the history of 20th-century art. It may not be surprising that Picasso's cubist years can be summed up through his still life, since it was through that genre that he and Braque developed many of their seminal ideas. Nearly every aspect of his development turns out to be represented, including the works of the 30's that prompted the Surrealists to claim Picasso as one of their own.
Death is a recurrent element in these, as in all of Picasso's works. Sometimes it is explicit, as in Nature morte au pot et au crâne depicting a skull that appears to be decaying, and other times implicit, as in Nature morte au crane de taureau from the late 1930's that seem to be symbols of anti-fascism as well as stand-ins for the war dead.
Throughout the show there are references to artists to whom he paid homage or who paid homage to him -- from Old Masters like Velazquez, Zurbaran, and Chardin through 20th-century figures like Matisse, Klee, Dubuffet, and Giacometti. At the same time, no artist was more explicitly and persistently autobiographical, and this show stresses the connections between the imagery in the still lives and the many twists and turns of Picasso's life.