It’s as if there’s a Picasso museum in downtown Seattle.
That’s how massive and full of masterpieces the new Picasso exhibit at Seattle Art Museum is.
“Picasso: Masterpieces From the Musee National Picasso, Paris,” is a must see, possibly a once-in-a-lifetime experience, unless you’re planning a trip to Paris.
This exhibit has pieces that many of us have seen only in books. The exhibit — which represents Picasso’s personal collection — consists of more than 150 original pieces, among them 75 paintings and sculptures.
The major periods of Picasso’s eight-decade career are covered in this exhibit: the Blue Period, the Rose Period, the African-art inspired period, the Cubist period and his Classical Period.
One of the first pieces in this stunning trip through Picasso’s artistic life is his iconic masterpiece from his Blue Period, “The Woman With a Cataract.”
He painted that piece in 1904 “with no bright colors,” because he was still melancholic over the suicide of his dear friend Carlos Casagemas, the exhibit’s curator Anne Baldassari said.
In “Woman With Joined Hands,” Picasso ventured into a metamorphosis in his work, painting “a new kind of creature, not a man nor a woman,” Baldassari said.
The collection of Picasso’s pieces during the Cubist Period include “Guitar and Bottle of Bass,” a collage of wood and other objects.
In “Two Women Running on the Beach,” Picasso shows a rare moment of joy. And the large, sculptural works that Picasso created in the 1930s depict more of the artist’s tendency to morph male and female genders.
Other masterpieces include his Van Gogh-like painting, “Man in a Straw Hat With Ice Cream Cone”; his painting of one of his female muses, “Portrait of Dora Maar”; and the playful sculpture “Head of a Bull,” which Picasso made from a leather bike seat.
This traveling exhibit is stopping first in Seattle for the U.S. leg of its global tour, possibly the only time these major works will travel, because the museum in Paris is closed for renovation.
The exhibit represents the Northwest’s first major presentation of Picasso’s work, Derrick Cartwright, the Illsley Ball Nordstrom director of SAM, said in a prepared statement.
Cartwright said the exhibit “surveys the entire career of an individual who was arguably the most influential and radical, creative force of the 20th century.”
“Picasso: Masterpieces From the Musee National Picasso, Paris” through Jan. 17, Seattle Art Museum, 1300 First Ave.
“Picasso Community Day,” 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday. Includes art activities, acrobats and music by Recess Monkey and Caspar Babypants.
Admission $23 adults; free children 12 and under with a paying adult; $20 seniors and military; $18 students and ages 13 to 17.