The groundbreaking exhibition Through the Eyes of Picasso will explore Pablo Picassos life-long fascination with African and Oceanic art, uniting his paintings and sculpture with art that had a seminal impact on his own creative exploration. The exhibition opens Oct. 20 at The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City, the only United States venue in a limited tour. Many works in the exhibition will be on view in America for the first time.
From his initial encounter with African art in 1907, Picassos view of the world was fundamentally altered, said Julián Zugazagoitia, Menefee D. and Mary Louise Blackwell CEO & Director of the Nelson-Atkins. He became an avid collector of non-western art and lived with these masterpieces throughout his entire life in his studios. They were a constant source of exploration and inspiration, which manifested itself in the reinvention of his work throughout his career. As a result of that influence, modern art was radically transformed.
The exhibition will feature 170 works of art, including more than 60 paintings, sculptures, and ceramics by Picasso alongside more than 20 works of African and Oceanic art that were part of his personal collection pieces that he collected, lived with and kept with him in his studios, many of them featured for the first time in the Americas. Through the Eyes of Picasso also will showcase the works of art African, Oceanic, and American that transformed his artistic vision when he encountered them at the Musée d Ethnographie du Trocadéro (now in the collections of the Musée du Quai Branly in Paris) during the early part of the 20th century. For Picasso, the power of these masks and sculptures was in the artists exploration of line, abstraction of the human body, and its constant transformation.
Through the Eyes of Picasso also will feature a selection of intimate, personal photographs of the artist at work and play, including images by David Douglas Duncan. The Duncan images were a recent gift to the Nelson-Atkins.