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Indepth Arts News:

"Picasso Erotica"
2005-06-18 until 2005-08-29
Leslie Sacks Fine Art
Los Angeles, CA, USA United States of America

Throughout his life, from early youth through old age, Picasso’s two great passions were woman and art, and these came together in his erotic works. The most famous of these is his monumentally important painting of 1907, Les Demoiselles d’Avignon, which is viewed by art historians as the prototypical modern painting. This seminal work is perhaps the most prized painting in the entire collection of the Museum of Modern Art, New York.

But, of all of Picasso’s multitudinous erotic adventures in various media, the etchings are by far his most important body of work. They are not merely numerous, but rather each is highly charged with the unbridled life force that infused all of his best works, erotic and otherwise. The range of emotion and sensation is tremendous, communicated not merely through narrative imagery but more fundamentally in lines, textures and compositions that embrace the lust, delicacy, pathos and humor of unabridged human sexuality.

While Picasso’s interest in Eros may have exceeded that of many of his contemporaries, one cannot dismiss the relevance of the subject with respect to then contemporary socio-cultural issues. With regard to psychology, the first half of the 20th century was dominated by the Freudians, with much emphasis given to the far reaching role of sexuality in shaping emotion and behavior. This occurred in concert with the birth of modern anthropology which showcased surviving tribal cultures, particularly their naturalism inclusive of nudity and the ritualized adulation of fertility. This stood in stark contrast to the culture of the work ethic which had come to dominate Western industrial civilization, just as the trappings of academic art had threatened to suppress more vital and relevant modes of artistic expression.   

The American art scene is viewed as notoriously puritanical by most arts professionals, here and abroad. A major exhibition of Picasso erotica was organized for 2001 by the Picasso Museum, Paris. Some 5000 people attended the opening at the Jeu de Paume. The show traveled to the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts whose Director, Guy Cogeval, stated, “My American colleagues said they’d love to do a show like this, but they can’t with their boards of trustees.” (As quoted in Forbes Magazine, 2/28/01.) Leslie Sacks Fine Art, being a privately owned gallery without a board of trustees and public funding, does not have to deal with curatorial politics and is pleased to present, Picasso: Erotica. 

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