Saturday, March 16, 2013

Picasso in Chicago

Yesterday I visited the Art Institute of Chicago and viewed the new exhibit of Picasso in Chicago. Well, Picasso actually never visited Chicago but one of his most beloved works is the giant metal statue at the Daley Plaza. This is such a familiar image for those who live in or near Chicago. One of the first times I saw this, I was waiting for my husband to run the Chicago Marathon, and all the runners started from this spot.  (I had originally thought is was an abstraction of a horse, but most sources say it is a woman.)
The special exhibit is going on now, and it is a large sampling of Picasso's work. It might be nearly impossible to show everything in his lifetime. The man created an incredible of amount of painting and sculpture. The styles and media that he worked with are all over the map and all over art history. Some of the stuff that I saw was so obviously a rip-off of Toulouse-Lautrec, Renoir,Degas, or Cezanne. It is as though he arrived in Paris and heard that so-and-so was already renowned, and he took a look and said, "Oh I can do a so-and-so, just watch this." Also, this man was such a Goat! I mean, the way he used women, so many scandals and stories. And all of that immoral behavior is excused in this exhibit...because he was a great artist.

The image that has remained in my mind today is this one, titled "Old woman with shawl". Here is my quick pen sketch from my sketchbook.
Over to the far left is the original art by Picasso. It is in pencil and chalk. The simply rendered face is touching, but the hands are really arresting. The hands tell so much of the story. And then I like how he arranged the fabric folds into soft geometric shapes that become more and more simplified.

I intend to visit this exhibit again. There is so much that I could not take in, so many images I need to see again.
I was with a group of friends, and we ended our time with lunch at the Terzo Piano cafe on top of the Modern wing. The room is all light and air with lots of glass and modern sculpted white chairs and tables. I also sketched at lunch. Here is a view across the room, I was interested in the clean lines in the restaurant and the spot of color that the cobalt blue french water bottles provide.
Here are sketches of two of my companions. I must have been influenced by all the very light and minimal line work in the Picasso drawings that I had just seen.