Healing Art: Picasso’s Guernica

The other day I wrote briefly about the importance of using ART in all its various forms (to view, read or listen to) as a healing tool for managing grief. Here’s one of the best remarkable examples of a great art piece created out of tragedy to commemorate a terrible time in history:

Probably Picasso’s most famous work, Guernica is certainly his most powerful political statement, painted as an immediate reaction to the Nazi’s devastating casual bombing practice on the Basque town of Guernica during the Spanish Civil War.

Pablo Picasso, Guernica, 1937, oil on canvas, 349 cm × 776 cm. (Museo Reina Sofia, Madrid)

Guernica shows the tragedies of  war and suffering it inflicts upon individuals, particularly innocent civilians.  This work has gained a monumental status, becoming a perpetual reminder of the tragedies of war, an anti-war symbol, and an embodiment of peace.

On completion, Guernica was displayed around the world in a brief tour, becoming famous and widely acclaimed.  This tour helped bring the Spanish Civil War to the world’s attention.

Another reason why ART is so important in recovery.





ART/Culture: Picasso – the Artist and his Muses

Are we to paint what’s on the face, what’s inside the face, or what’s behind it? – Pablo Picasso

Femme au collier jaune, oil on canvas, 1946 by Pablo Picasso
Femme au collier jaune, oil on canvas, 1946 by Pablo Picasso

They say behind every great man there is a great woman.  And behind every great male artist there is a great muse (or muses).  Are there any male muses?  Probably not because commonly a muse is a woman who is the source of inspiration for a creative artist (who is male).  In mythology, the Muses were nine goddesses who symbolized the arts and sciences.  Therefore I do not know of any male muses to date.  So unfair.  I will research this a little more and get back to you because there should really be some don’t you think?

In modern days you might say that Brooke Shields and Kate Moss were muses to Calvin Klein,  Amanda Harlech to Karl Lagerfeld and Carine Roitfeld to both Tom Ford & Karl Lagerfeld (oh that Karl, he has several and he’s not even straight so those women must be awesome).

In theory a good muse should not only be physically attractive (at least to the artist) and alluring but also interesting, attentive, amuseing, offer emotional support and be sexual.  Offer something special to inspire the artist to want to devote time and effort to paint, write, sing, whatever their artistic endeavour.  Otherwise why bother right?

Picasso had many muses and six of them are on display at the Vancouver Art Gallery.

Femme couchée lisant, 1939, oil on canvas. This subject in this piece is Picasso's last wife Jacqueline Roque.
Femme couchée lisant, 1939, oil on canvas. This subject in this piece is Picasso’s last wife Jacqueline Roque.

It appears that Picasso was not good relationship material.  Interesting, Yes…Talented, yes…just non-committal and not very nice to his women.  Picasso had affairs with dozens, perhaps hundreds of women, and was true to none of them – except possibly the last.  At least he was upfront.

“Women are machines for suffering,” Picasso told his mistress Françoise Gilot in 1943. Indeed, as they embarked on their nine-year affair, the 61-year-old artist warned the 21-year-old student: “For me there are only two kinds of women, goddesses and doormats”.

And there were some unfortunate incidents…

I read that out of the seven most important women in Picasso’s life, two killed themselves and two went mad. Another died of natural causes only four years into their relationship.

At the same time he was obsessed and dependent on these women.  In any event and to our advantage they definitely influenced the development of his art. Which led to this exhibit Picasso: The Artist and his Muses.

Now until October 2nd at the Vancouver Art Gallery:

Vancouver Art Gallery
Vancouver Art Gallery

Below taken from Vancouver Art Gallery Website:

Known for his enormous contribution to the canon of great art in the 20th century, Pablo Ruiz y Picasso (1881—1973) is one of the masters of Modernism. Examining the significance of the six women who were inspirational to his artistic development, Picasso: The Artist and His Muses is the most significant exhibition of Picasso’s work ever presented in Vancouver. Beginning in early 20th-century Paris, the exhibition takes the visitor on a journey through the lives and personalities of Fernande Olivier, Olga Khokhlova, Marie-Thérèse Walter, Dora Maar, Françoise Gilot and Jacqueline Roque, who were all principal figures in Picasso’s personal life and strongly influenced the development of his career. Picasso’s innovations in painting, drawing, print and sculpture are conveyed through recurring motifs such as the seated woman and reclining nude. The exhibition presents major works that dramatically altered the course of European art history.


It is a must-see

“I paint objects as I think them, not as I see them”

Art is not the application of a canon of beauty but what the instinct and the brain can conceive beyond any canon. When we love a woman we don’t start measuring her limbs” – Picasso


ART/Picasso: Creatures and Creativity

20151226_124016It is not sufficient to know an artist’s works – it is also necessary to know when he did them, why, how, and under what circumstances.  I want to leave to posterity a documentation that will be as complete as possible.  That’s why I put a date on everything I do.” – Pablo Picasso

Picasso Print - the original was in exhibit
Picasso Print – the original was in the exhibit & not allowed to be photographed

I just saw this amazing exhibition at The Bellagio Gallery of Fine Arts (bgfa) in partnership with the Claude Picasso Archives.  It took the curator of bgfa two years to get Picasso’s son Claude to agree to show some of his private collection. No photos were allowed, sorry.

The 43 works, dated from 1938 to 1965, shown all together for the first time in the U.S.A., explore Picasso’s creative process.  The exhibition focuses on Pable Picasso’s favourite theme – the human figure through the medium of painting and print making (print making was a challenge for the artist) and includes lithographs, linocuts and rare corresponding plates.

Through every stage, until the final work, the visitor follows his evolving artistic vision.

The exhibition demonstrates how the lithograph and linocut techniques inspired new directions in Picasso’s work.  The exhibition focuses on specific themes, showing how Picasso’s imagery went through a constant process of metamorphosis.

Source: Tatyana Franck; curator

Have you been to any exciting exhibits lately?

20151226_125817 This b+w photograph of Pablo Picasso seated by one of his original works is available at: Jeff Mitchum Galleries @ the Bellagio Hotel,  Las Vegas. Contact: Johnnie Perea – 702.304.0007


Art – the price of good ART

Overheard at Christie’s auction house in New York City last week – “Will you give me 160, 160 million?” Even if I had the money I would not be so sure, but how nice to even be able to be in the running. Worth it, not Worth it – What is the value of good art?picasso-women-of-algiers_garance-dore-770x513Last week a Picasso painting broke the world record as the most expensive artwork to sell at auction when it went for a mere $179.4 million. While the final sale price was actually $160 million, a 12 per cent buyer’s premium was added to the astonishing total.
Definitely not pocket change.

The painting “Woman of Algiers” (Version O) beat out the previous title holder which was Francis Bacon’s “Three Studies of Lucian Freud” in 2013. It made me wonder about what kind of price you can put on art and also who is buying these paintings? I believe that the identity of the buyer is not yet known.

While I admire the work of both of these major artists and love the paintings I somehow can’t get over the prices. Even so, I wouldn’t mind having a substantial painting gracing a wall in my home.

The Picasso oil painting is a vibrant, cubist depiction of nude courtesans, and is part of a 15-work series the Spanish artist created in 1954-55 designated with the letters A to O.
This is an absolutely blockbuster picture – it’s one of the most exciting pictures that we’ve seen on the market for 10 years,” said Philip Hoffman, founder and CEO of the Fine Art Fund Group.

“Yes there are one or two [Picassos] that could even smash that record but it has a huge wall presence, it’s a big show-off picture.”

“For anybody that wants to have a major Picasso, this is it – and $179m in 10 years’ time will probably look inexpensive,” said Hoffman.

I don’t know, it seems pretty exorbitant to me right now. Imagine? Never say never but that probably leaves me out of the running for ever owning a major player painting.

Source: http://www.bbc.com/news/
Photo: Wall Street Journal