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Picasso and American Art

Due to popular demand, Picasso and American Art will have extended hours for its final four days.

Thursday – Saturday, September 6-8, 10am – 10pm
Sunday, September 9, 10am – 6pm

This landmark exhibition, organized by the Whitney Museum of American Art, examines the fundamental role that Pablo Picasso played in the development of American art over the past century by juxtaposing his work with that of groundbreaking American artists who were inspired or influenced by his example. The exhibition features nearly 30 works by Picasso as well as a wide-ranging display of works by nine American artists: Max Weber, Stuart Davis, Arshile Gorky, John Graham, Willem de Kooning, Jackson Pollock, David Smith, Roy Lichtenstein, and Jasper Johns. Each will be represented by approximately 10 artworks spanning their careers. In addition, works by Marsden Hartley, May Ray, Louise Bourgeois, Jan Matulka, Robert Motherwell, Andy Warhol, and Claes Oldenburg, among others, will be on view.

Although Picasso never set foot in America, many of this country’s most important artists saw him as the central figure of modern art and defined their own achievements through their assimilation or refutation of his example. “The intense involvement of American artists with Picasso’s work was at the center of a fundamental transformation in American art during the 20th century,” says exhibition curator Michael FitzGerald. Picasso and American Art places artworks by Picasso near related ones by Americans in order to allow visitors to see how artists here absorbed, critiqued, or occasionally rejected Picasso’s example as they created their own significant contributions to modern art.

The majority of the approximately 140 objects in the Walker’s presentation of the exhibition will be paintings and drawings. A small number of sculptures also will be featured. Among the Picasso works on view will be two from the Walker’s collection and two on loan from the Minneapolis Institute of Arts.

A few of the artworks by Picasso that are coming from overseas for the exhibition may be familiar to those who attended the Walker’s 1980 exhibition Picasso from the Musée Picasso, Paris, in which these works traveled to the United States for the first time. The popular exhibition consisted of over 150 artworks given the Picasso estate to the French government in lieu of death duties.

A 400-page catalogue, co-published with Yale University Press, accompanies the exhibition. It includes a scholarly monography by FitzGerald and approximately 300 illustrations as well as a thorough chronology that documents the accessibility of Picasso’s work in the United States through exhibitions, collections, and publications. Based on extensive research, the catalogue provides valuable new insights into the ways that Picasso’s art affected generations of American artists and the ways in which America helped shape Picasso’s reputation. Hardcover: $65 ($58.50 Walker members); softcover: $50 ($45).

Curator: Michael FitzGerald, Associate Professor, Department of Fine Arts, Trinity College, Connecticut, in association with Dana Miller, Associate Curator, Whitney Museum of American Art.

Walker Coordinating Curator: Philippe Vergne