Ateneum Transforms Third Floor into Picasso’s Living Room

Featured at the Ateneum in Helsinki, the living room has been created inspired by Picasso’s art and life: it could be his or his fan’s. Step right in, into a recreation of Picasso’s world.

Take a rest, read magazines, take a picture, make yourself at home.

In cooperation with Helsingin Sanomat.

The Ateneum is also featuring “In the Spirit of Picasso”
Finnish artists have closely followed developments in the international art world and have been actively involved in it. Many of them already became interested in Picasso’s art in the 1910s. On show in connection with Ateneum’s collection display, “In the Spirit of Picasso” presents works by sixteen Finnish artists who received direct or indirect impulses from the master. There are also ten prints by Picasso from the Ateneum’s own collections.

An extensive exhibition of Pablo Picasso’s (1881–1973) work is currently on view at the Ateneum Art Museum. This unique exhibition is the first comprehensive presentation ever seen in Finland of all the different periods of Picasso’s career. There are nearly two hundred works on show from the collections of the Musée national Picasso in Paris: paintings, sculptures, prints and photographs. They have been selected for Ateneum’s exhibition by Anne Baldassari, director of the Picasso Museum.

The rooms in Ateneum’s exhibition follow Picasso’s oeuvre in a chronological order. The room “From the Blue Period to Cubism”, (1901–07) features e.g. the Celestina painting from the Blue Period and a Self-Portrait representing the Rose Period. “Towards Cubism”, (1907–09) presents several studies for Les Demoiselles d’Avignon. With Cubism (1909–19) Picasso moved to a new kind of visual language, breaking down the form, colours and structure of his subject matter, making the reassembled image show the subject simultaneously from different angles: such as the face from the front and the side at once. There are also collage works of different materials on view.

“From Cubism to Classicism” (1914–24) presents an artist who studied old masters in a new light, merging the history of art with modern form and content. A well-known example of the Classicist period, Paulo as Harlequin depicts Picasso’s son. The different periods of Surrealism are represented by numerous paintings and sculptures from 1924–34 and 1930–35. An important inspiration for Picasso at the time was Marie-Thérèse Walter, who is seen in many depictions of bathing women.

The rooms “Spain at War” (1936–39) and “Years of War” (1941–52) focus on war through the eyes of a pacifist artist. “Weeping Woman” is one of the studies for “Guernica”, while “Bull’s Head” was constructed of a bicycle saddle and handlebars during war-time shortage of material. In the final years of the 1930s, the artist also frequently depicted his two muses, Marie-Thérèse and photographer Dora Maar. Both are featured in several portraits in the exhibition.

“Pop Art” (1946–70) saw Picasso continue making collages out of found objects: the sculpture “Woman with a Pushchair” was made of a pram, stove pipes, baking moulds and other junk. The artist also was in dialogue with the old masters, painting the work Le Déjeuner sur l’Herbe after Manet. During the last years of his career (1970–73), Picasso time and again returned to his old subject matter – women, couples kissing, matadors, artists and models. The exhibition shows one of Picasso’s very last paintings, “The Young Painter” from 1973. Ateneum also presents plenty of Picasso’s prints as well as photographs, both by him and of him.

“Pablo Picasso – Masterpieces from the National Picasso Museum”, Paris open through January 28, 2010.

Eli Consilvio