Picasso: Masterpieces from the Musée National Picasso, Paris.
Feb 19, 2011 – May 15, 2011
Virginia Museum of Fine Arts
A rare trip away from the vineyard found us at VMFA’s Picasso exhibit this past Saturday. Richmond Virginia is one of three US cities to host the traveling collection—and the only city on the East Coast in which to view this comprehensive exhibition. There are 5-6 rooms and an incredibly long hallway filled with sketches, paintings, etchings, sculptures and photos. The lighting is well done and ample space is provided throughout for viewing the work—with the possible exception of the said hallway, which became a little claustrophobic for me, as people tended to bunch up in areas. The hall, tho, features a photo-documentary of the painting of Guernica. It was amazing to watch the painting shift and morph as Picasso worked upon it. I thought there were profound edits and revisions in the painting’s layout that strengthened the final work. It was the one of the highlights of the show.
For me, the showstopper of the event was the sketch of a Spanish Matron, which looked remarkably like my grandmother. It is located right as you walk into the second room, on the left wall, second framed picture from the door. Amazing! I turned back to my husband and blurted, “I had no idea my grandmother was Picasso’s lover!” My Vineman laughed, “Flo! —Seriously, was she ever in Europe?” Which she wasn’t, but the sketch is remarkable.
Most disappointing was the Women Running on the Beach painting’s size. Its very small. The prints they sell are huge, I suppose, since its really graphically pleasing. Its still wonderful to see it in person. Most Compelling Painting for the Vineman was an untitled landscape painted in 1921. He just could not get over it “—it just doesn’t quite fit in with anything else we’ve seen,” he kept repeating. I searched in vain for a cheesy magnet of the painting in the gift shop, to no avail.
Although the lines to get into the exhibit were quite long, it only took a half hour to get into the exhibit. The exhibit itself takes almost three hours of review—unless you are particularly captivated by certain works and wish to stay longer.
We felt it was a once in a lifetime opportunity for both us and boy1&2 to view the extensive collection on American soil (if you have young children, invest in the $5 audio guide. The novelty keeps them preoccupied). Be prepared for some unintended bumping (no ma’am, I wasn’t trying to move you along—I was just so absorbed, I didn’t see your purse) and some dopey comments from your fellow visitors, like: “What is it with that guitar?” Three times was a charm, fella. You wore me out after the fifth repeat and I had to give you some space. I felt a little sorry for your companion. She smiled patiently every time you made that remark.
It was very much, a worthwhile trip and we invite you to find it for yourselves.