A Guide to the Exhibit Devoted to Pablo Picasso in Musée d’Orsay

Musee D Orsay Tour

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The Musée d’Orsay is displaying hundreds of artworks by Pablo Picasso in the “Picasso: Blue and Rose” exhibition, which will prolong until January 06, 2019. The exhibit throw lights on the works of Picasso, spanning a 6-year period starting in 1900 and ending in 1906. The Blue and Rose periods are a defining era in the multitalented Spanish artist’s career. So if you are going on Paris tours anytime soon, do not miss exploring this must-visit expo.

In the year 1900, Pablo Picasso and his artist friend Carlos Casagemas arrived in the City of Lights when one of Picasso’s works was selected for exhibiting in Exposition Universelle’s Spanish pavilion. They moved into a Montmartre atelier. By the end of the year, he went back to Spain, and within a few months, Casagemas committed suicide after a fight with the love of his life, Germaine.

Casagemas’ death was a setback for Picasso, but it inspired him to pay tribute to his friend with a series of representative artworks, revealed to the public after his own passing away. Examples of those works of arts are exhibited in the “Picasso: Blue and Rose”.

From 1901 to 1904, the Spanish artist lapsed into a state of melancholy, living in Montmartre in poverty and painting works that represented his state of mind. He spent time at the Cirque Medrano frequently; the figures and characters of the circus became his paintings’ subjects. By the year 1904, when he met the woman of his life, Fernande Olivier, the palette blue gave way for the pale pink one. In other words, the Rose period followed.

The Picasso: Blue and Rose Exhibition

The exhibit, spread across distinct sections, includes Picasso’s paintings and drawings. Visitors on a Musée d Orsay tour can explore how his art evolved from dappled and colorful canvases of the early years he spent in the French capital, to his partly-monochromatic visions of the Blue period, and to the pale pink representations of circus figures and street performers. Some of the works of art in the exhibition are loaned from Paris’s Picasso Museum, while other artworks are loaned from collections and museums in the US, Japan, and Europe.

One of the Picasso masterpieces exhibited in the Musée d’Orsay is “La Vie”. The Blue period painting depicts a naked couple and a woman, carrying in her arms a sleeping baby. Another one of his works “Boy Leading a Horse” is from the Rose period. However, the main highlight of “Picasso: Blue and Rose” is his Rose period painting named “Fillette à la corbeille fleurie”, which was auctioned to a gallery in New York for a whopping price and was loaned to the museum in Paris city as part of the exhibit. It depicts an adolescent girl who, according to fine art historians, was a seller of flower in Montmartre’s Place du Tertre.

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What the exhibit is aiming to show to visitors on a Musée d Orsay tour is the progressive evolution of Picasso from the Blue period to the Rose period. This was a period in Picasso’s life when the artist was under the influence of the nineteenth-century painting and was still developing a signature painting style. In this respect, it is no wonder the exhibit site is the Parisian museum, home to predominantly Impressionism and post-Impressionism works of art. The goal of the exhibit is “to demonstrate that Picasso was also a child of the 19th century,” said the co-curator of the exhibit, Claire Bernardi.

The exhibit brings together many curators and shows a larger catalog of Picasso’s works. Visitors can discover that the two Periods were labeled as ‘Blue’ and ‘Rose’ by art historians who analyzed the works of Pablo Picasso, and not by the artist himself. In fact, according to the biographer John Richardson, Pablo Picasso disliked the categorization of his works by those labels.

According to Bernardi, the figurative paintings of Picasso are still “a key moment of his career: the moment in which he asserts his artistic identity.” Bernardi said that “It’s in the year 1901 that he starts to sign his paintings with the name ‘Picasso,’ using his mother’s last name and no first name. It’s an affirmation of his vocation as a painter, and it’s the moment in which he becomes Picasso.”

Blue and Rose are a hit with both art collectors and the common public alike. Although works of art from these periods were exhibited in other museums, this is the first of its kind exhibit in France. According to Bernardi, that is because “Art historians who worked on the subject tended to be English-speaking. There was little research from France concerning this period.”

Another reason, added the co-curator of the exhibit, is that Blue and Rose eras were actually “rediscovered and re-exhibited fairly late”. It was Pierre Daix, who compiled a catalogue raisonné based on works of Picasso and in collaboration with the Spaniard.