Already saw Picasso this year? Not like this

Guest post by Chelsea Hicks

If you saw the extravagant Picasso exhibit at the VMFA in Richmond, you may be tempted to shrug and say that you’ve already seen his work locally—and recently, no less. But don’t speak so soon: A collection of Picasso’s work opening at Les Yeux du Monde this Thursday show a period when the artist’s work was “happy, for a change,” says Les Yeux du Monde owner Lyn Warren.

The show, “Picasso: Prints from the Mediterranean Years,” runs at Warren’s gallery from this Thursday through August 21. It explores the period between 1945 and 1962, some of which Picasso spent with his then-mistress Françoise Gilot and their two children. The period—coined his “white period” by scholar Victoria Beck Newman—reinvigorated him artistically. (Newman will give a talk on interpreting the nine prints on exhibit before the opening, at 3:30pm on Thursday.)

Pablo Picasso. "Le Picador II," 1961. See more below.

The work is lighter and more accessible, reflecting the freedom of seaside life after the cold days of the Occupation in Paris. The works were not only inspired by the family hikes and beach trips, but also by the vibrant social scene of Antibes and Vallauris, where he lived, with its poets, bullfighters and many of Picasso’s international admirers and friends.

“Purity and light prevail in subject and color,” says Warren of the works, describing Picasso’s domestic-inspired ceramics and sunny prints. The Mediterranean blooms out of the nine prints, and several digital projections, that Warren acquired for the show. The images include prints of a classical figure with a tambourine and a man playing flute, a nocturnal dance, a picador and a bullfight done in 23 colors, among others.

The exhibit was arranged as part of the 2011 Wintergreen Summer Music Festival, “Realms of Gold: A Mediterranean Odyssey.” Charlotte Minor, one of the directors at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts referred Warren to John Szoke, owner of New York City gallery John Szoke Editions. Szoke’s Picasso prints have been loaned for the exhibit.

Lyn Warren says of Newman and her husband Russ Warren, himself a painter indebted to Picasso, who will also talk on the print selection the following Sunday, 3:30pm, “I feel fortunate to have two of the best to help elucidate the show.”

Between the work itself, and talks from Newman and Warren, having "just seen some Picasso" isn’t a good excuse. You may have thought the Richmond show was your last chance to see Picasso’s work locally. This time it may be true. 


"Flûtiste  et Chèvre  savante,"  1959  


"Danse nocturne avec un Hibou," 1959