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Indepth Arts News:

"Picasso: Portrait and Figure"
2001-08-08 until 2001-10-28
Baltimore Museum of Art
Baltimore, MD, USA

The Baltimore Museum of Art presents Picasso: Portrait and Figure , an exhibition of more than 30 drawings and prints that illustrate Pablo Picassos in-depth study of the human figure and his ability to capture the creative intelligence of his portrait sitters. The second installation in the new Cone Wing focus exhibition gallery, Picasso: Portrait and Figure highlights sbme of the most significant works by Picasso in The Cone Collection, including a striking pen and ink self-portrait, a rare etching of his mistress, Fernande Olivier, and a remarkable gouache of Leo Stein.

Picassos knowledge of the classical figure is evident in a number of finely rendered pen drawings from 1904-1905, drawn in contour without modeling. Gradually, through his study of Iberian sculpture and the influence of Cezanne, Picasso began to focus on the figures three-dimensional form, structure, and solidity. Nowhere is this more evident than in a series of figure drawings in The Cone Collection that literally trace his investigations step by step, culminating in his break to cubism.

Etta Cone first acquired Picasso prints and drawings in 1905 when Gertrude Stein introduced her to the artist during a visit to his studio. Until her death in 1949, Etta continued to collect Picassos art, particularly his early drawings from 1904-1906. Although neither Claribel nor Etta Cone collected Picassos abstract works, his fragmentation of the figure is illustrated in a major 1907 watercolor, Study for Nude with Drapery, purchased by Etta late in life.

The Cone Collection, The Baltimore Museum of Arts preeminent holding of post-Impressionist and modern art, recently reopened to the public after an extensive renovation and expansion of the galleries. In addition to 500 works by Henri Matisse, considered the most important and comprehensive holding in the world, the collection includes 113 paintings, sculpture, drawings, prints, and illustrated books by Pablo Picasso. Two bronze sculptures by Picasso will be added to the permanent display in the Cone Wing this summer-Mask and Woman Combing Her Hair. Following this exhibition will be an installation that further explores the depth of these holdings titled Picassos Classicism (November 14, 2001-February 3, 2002).

Exhibition gallery talks include Picasso: Portrait and Figure on Thursday, September 6, 1 p.m., with Jay Fisher, BMA Deputy Director for Curatorial Affairs and Senior Curator of Prints, Drawings & Photographs, and Picasso in The Cone Collection on Sunday, September 30, at 2 p.m. Call 410/396-7100 for more information.

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