Yesterday I journeyed over to Den Haag, mostly to visit the Gemeente Museum, which has a Picasso show up at the moment. I was interested to see some Picassos in person because I’ve been reading John Richardson’s multi-volume biography of the artist lately. While one can hardly avoid Picasso when thinking about 20th century art, I had never really known much about the man and his life, and I’m finding the story quite compelling. The second volume covers the years 1907 to 1916, the cubist years, which in many ways is an anomalous yet revolutionary period for Picasso. Richardson delves into both the biographical details and the work itself, describing the connections and progressions.
The man himself is a big character – ferociously inventive, superstitious, a bit paranoid, macho, competitive. He and Braque were moving at such high speed for those few years, moving into and through cubism to finally open up modern art to all sorts of constructions and inventions. Picasso himself never really went abstract – his subjects are almost all people and still-life objects – even the most difficult cubist paintings are views of real things.
The show itself is pretty patchy – some good work from the early years to about 1913, then very little until the late 1930s and 1940s, then a lot of late work from the 1960s. Of course there is so much, and you can only gather so many pieces in one place, so this show just gives some perspectives of the overall career. I hope to get to the Picasso Museums in Paris and Barcelona to round out this investigation into his work.
Also at the museum was a show by a young German painter by the name of Matthias Weischer, who studied in Liepzig and seems to have definite connections with Neo Rauch. I found his recent paintings of mysterious interiors to be quite intriguing.