Photograph by Adrian Siegel (American, 1898-1978) for cover of the Museum’s Annual Report 1957-58
March 9, 2010 - June 14, 2010Pablo Picasso (Spanish, 1881–1973) was one of the most renowned cultural figures of the twentieth century. He played a pivotal role in the formation of modern stylistic movements that challenged the public’s perceptions and understanding of art. His work was provocative, yet Picasso enjoyed popularity and success that made him a celebrity and household name. A highly prolific artist, by 1901 the twenty-year-old Spaniard was already exhibiting and selling his work in Barcelona and Paris. Not fond of the traditional Paris salons of the day, the artist gained recognition through supporters such as art dealer Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler and collectors Gertrude Stein and her brother Leo Stein. Picasso moved to Paris in 1904, and within a few years his forays into Analytic and Synthetic Cubism established him as a leader of modernism for decades to follow. The Philadelphia Museum of Art was among the first U.S. museums to own a Picasso when it acquired the 1906 painting Woman with Loaves in 1931. Other works followed, and in 1950 and 1952 the Museum received two masterpieces by the artist, his Self-Portrait with Palette (1906) and Three Musicians (1921); both paintings were acquired as part of the A. E. Gallatin Collection. Other key works came to the Museum with the Louise and Walter Arensberg Collection in 1950, and over the years, the Museum enhanced its holdings with acquisitions of Picasso’s sculpture, ceramics, graphic works, and illustrated books. This installation shows how, after bringing the work of Picasso into its collection, the Philadelphia Museum of Art introduced his art to its audience for both enjoyment and scholarship.