Picasso, Braque and Early Film in Cubism
PaceWildenstein announces the first exhibition ever devoted to the role of early film in the development of Cubism. Picasso, Braque, and Early Film in Cubism, on view from April 20 through June 23, 2007 at 32 East 57th Street, New York City, deals with the critical role played by early cinema in the formation of Cubism. The exhibition recreates the excitement of the artists’ interest in film as they invented a new style of painting that could meet the challenges of a perceptually re-invented world. Bernice Rose, former Senior Curator of Drawings at The Museum of Modern Art, New York, curated the exhibition from an original concept proposed by Arne Glimcher. This exhibition is the gallery’s seventh and most ambitious exhibition devoted to the work of Pablo Picasso, in the more than 25 years that the gallery has represented his estate. The exhibition concentrates on the Cubist years 1907 through 1914 as the period in which early film became apparent as a vital formative element in Cubism.
Nineteen paintings by Picasso and Braque will be on view as well as nine original works on paper, fourteen prints, two books, photographs, projections of early films, vintage cameras, projectors, and other objects that made up the visual milieu surrounding the two artists as they followed films in the years before and during their Cubist adventure. Some of the paintings on view are Picasso’s Female Nude, 1910 borrowed from the Philadelphia Museum of Art; Braque’s Mandora, 1909-1910 from the Tate Modern, London; Picasso’s Still Life With a Bottle of Rum, from 1911 from the Metropolitan Museum of Art; and Picasso’s Accordionist (L’Accofdéoniste), Céret, Summer 1911 from the Solomon R. Guggenheim, New York. A fully illustrated color catalogue with preface by Arne Glimcher and essays by Bernice Rose, Jennifer Wild, Ph.D. in Film Studies and a Fulbright Fellow, and Tom Gunning, Professor of the Humanities at The University of Chicago in the Department of Art History and the Committee on Cinema and Media, accompanies the exhibition.
Picasso, Braque, and Early Film in Cubism maintains that early film played a catalytic role in the development of Cubism, but as an added layer of reference that does not displace the canonical descriptions and analysis. There is biographical evidence that Picasso was an early cinephile–Picasso first saw a film in 1896 in Barcelona. By 1907 movie-going was a weekly ritual for “la Bande á Picasso.” And by that date, Picasso was certainly borrowing and transcribing from the movies he had been watching for many years; by 1909 he and Braque had formed a fruitful alliance. Cubism’s love affair with film was always within the context of the whole experience of “going to the movies.” Its initial infatuation was with the early single shot film and one-reelers, with slap-stick stories and news events. The engagement of Cubism with film is an affair in which both iconography and process perform their parts in an unlikely marriage of incongruent visual media. Cubist painting adopted the cinema’s heroes and its villains, the musicians who played at the cinema and in it–and their “sound.” But the two artists were just as taken by film’s processes, its camera angles, lighting, shadow patterns, fades and dissolves, and editing techniques, especially time lapses and overlaps that followed the principles of segmentation, division, and alternation to create a unique pattern of scanning within the frame.
It is difficult to imagine the sensation the moving picture evoked in the first decade of the 20th century–it captured reality: “the movement that is life.” Just as photography had been a challenge and opportunity for artists in the 19th century, moving pictures were the new challenge of the 20th century. By the time Picasso painted his breakout canvas, Les Demoiselles d’Avignon (1907), film was an important entertainment medium, declared part of the French cultural patrimony. In the next three years, the invention that had begun as a diversion in street fairs, vaudeville, and the café-concerts had taken over the vaudeville theatres and expanded into purpose-built theatres that were attended by people of all classes. With the proliferation of the cinématographe the stage was set for a whole new perceptual structure in the traditional visual arts.
Picasso, Braque, and Early Film in Cubism has been made possible with the help of generous loans from numerous private collections and public institutions, including the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo; Allen Memorial Art Museum, Oberlin College, Ohio; Art Institute of Chicago; The Beyeler Foundation, Basel; British Film Institute, London; Centre Georges Pompidou; Charles Edison Fund, New Jersey; Cinémathèque Française, Paris; Filmoteca Española, Madrid; George Eastman House, New York; Honolulu Academy of Arts; Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany; Library of Congress, Washington, DC; Menil Collection, Houston; Metropolitan Museum of Art; Moderna Museet, Stockholm; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Philadelphia Museum of Art; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; Tate Britain; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; Museum of the Moving Image, New York; Wright Museum of Art, Beloit College, Wisconsin; and Yale University Art Gallery.
Other exhibitions of Pablo Picasso’s work at PaceWildenstein have included Pablo Picasso: The Avignon Paintings (1981); Pablo Picasso: The Sculpture of Picasso (1982); Pablo Picasso: Je suis le cahier: The Sketchbooks of Picasso (1986); Pablo Picasso: Picasso and Drawing (1995); Pablo Picasso: Works from the Estate and Selected Loans (1998); and Picasso in Miniature (2001).
Additional information for Picasso, Braque, and Early Film in Cubism is available upon request by contacting Jennifer Benz Joy, Public Relations Associate, at 212.421.3292 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.