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Pablo Picasso (Spanish, 1881–1973), Harlequin Musician, 1924, oil on canvas, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., Given in loving memory of her husband, Taft Schreiber by Rita Schreiber. © 2015 Estate of Pablo Picasso / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.

COLUMBUS, OH.- The Columbus Museum of Art, in partnership with the Barnes Foundation, presents Picasso: The Great War, Experimentation and Change June 10 – September 11. Curated by Simonetta Fraquelli, an independent curator and specialist in early twentieth-century European art, the exhibition explores Pablo Picasso’s work between 1912 and 1924, prior to, during, and after the tumultuous years of the First World War, when the artist began exploring both cubist and classical modes in his art.  

Inspired by the Columbus Museum of Art’s Picasso Still Life with Compote and Glass, 1914 - 15 and the Barnes’s extensive Picasso holdings, Picasso: The Great War, Experimentation and Change features some 50 works by Picasso drawn from major American and European museums and private collections. The show includes oil paintings, watercolors, drawings, and four costumes the artist designed for the avant-garde ballet, Parade, in 1917. Several important canvases by Picasso’s contemporaries—including Henri Matisse, Fernand Leger, and Diego Rivera—will also be presented. 

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Pablo Picasso (Spanish, 1881–1973), Still Life with Compote and Glass, 1914. Oil on canvas, 37 1/4 x 43 1/2 in. (framed). Columbus Museum of Art: Gift of Ferdinand Howald © Succession Picasso 2012

A radical shift occurred in Picasso’s work in 1914,” notes curator Simonetta Fraquelli. “Following seven years of refining the visual language of cubism, he began to introduce elements of naturalism to his work.” This change in his production can be viewed against the backdrop of an unsteady cultural climate in Paris during World War I. Many people identified the fragmented forms of cubism with the German enemy and therefore perceived it as unpatriotic. This negative impression reverberated throughout Paris during the war and may have been a factor in Picasso’s shift in styles. However, Fraquelli states, “What becomes evident when looking at Picasso’s work between 1914 and 1924, is that his two artistic styles—Cubism and Neoclassicism—are not antithetical; on the contrary, each informs the other, to the degree that the metamorphosis from one style to the other is so natural for the artist that occasionally they occur in the same works of art.”  

Included in the exhibition are major works from the Picasso museums in Barcelona, Málaga, and Paris, including, respectively: Woman with a Mantilla (Fatma), an oil and charcoal on canvas from 1917; Olga Kholklova with a Mantilla, an oil on canvas from 1917; and Femme Assise, an oil on canvas from 1920.  

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 Pablo Picasso (Spanish, 1881–1973), Woman with a Mantilla (Fatma), 1917. Oil and charcoal on canvas, 116 x 89 cm. Museu Picasso of Barcelona. Donació Ruiz Picasso, Pablo, 1970; MPB 110.004 © Successió Picasso.VEGAP. Barcelona 2009

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Pablo Picasso (Spanish, 1881–1973), Olga Kholklova with a Mantilla, Barcelona, summer-autumn 1917. Oil on canvas, 64 x 53 cm. Private collection. Courtesy Fundación Almine y Bernard Ruiz-Picasso para el Arte

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Pablo Picasso (Spanish, 1881–1973), Femme assise, 1920. Oil on canvas, 92 x 65 cm. Musée National Picasso, Paris© Succession Picasso by SIAE 2012

The exhibition also features four costumes that Picasso designed for the avant-garde ballet, Parade, which premiered in Paris in 1917. These are: Costume for Chinese Conjurer (original), and reproductions of The American Manager, The French Manager, and The Horse. Performed by Sergei Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes, with music by Erik Satie, story by Jean Cocteau and the choreography of Léonide Massine, Parade was the first cross-disciplinary collaboration of its kind. The ballet, which tells the story of an itinerant theater group performing a sideshow, or a parade, was viewed as a revolutionary approach to theater. Picasso was the first avant-garde artist involved in such a production – not only designing the costumes, but also the theater curtain and set. Included in the exhibition will be a watercolor and graphite sketch of the curtain design, and a pencil sketch of the Costume for Chinese Conjurer. Picasso drew inspiration for his designs from the modern world – everything from circuses and carousels, to music halls and the cinema. With Picasso’s strange, geometric costumes, Parade might be seen as the ultimate fusion of classical and cubist forms.  

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Pablo Picasso (Spanish, 1881–1973), Costume for the Chinese Conjuror from Parade, 1917. Silk satin fabric with silver tissue. 65 5/16 × 59 1/16 × 19 11/16 in. (176 × 150 × 50 cm). Victoria and Albert Museum, London, Museum no. S.84&A&B-1985. Photo © Victoria and Albert Museum, London. © 2015 Estate of Pablo Picasso / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.

Picasso’s juxtaposition of figurative and cubist techniques can be seen as an expression of artistic freedom during a time of great conflict, and his shifts in style became a means of not repeating, in his words, “the same vision, the same technique, the same formula.” The works by Picasso’s contemporaries, such as Diego Rivera’s Still Life with Bread Knife from 1915 and Henri Matisse’s Lorette in a Red Jacket from 1917, offer further insight into the shifting cultural climate in France during this transformative period. 

Managing Curator for Picasso: The Great War, Experimentation and Change Managing Curator at the Columbus Museum of Art is Chief Curator, David Stark. Martha Lucy was the managing curator at the Barnes Foundation.

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Pablo Picasso (Spanish, 1881–1973), Pipe and Sheet Music, 1914. Gouache And Graphite On Pasted Papers, 20 1/2 x 26 1/2 in. Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Maurice McAshan © Succession Picasso 2011

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Pablo Picasso (Spanish, 1881–1973), Glass and Pipe, 1918. Oil With Sand On Canvas, 20 1/2 x 26 1/2 in. 13 3/4 x 10 5/8 in. Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, Solomon R. Guggenheim Founding Collection. © Succession Picasso 2011.

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Pablo Picasso (Spanish, 1881–1973), Seated Pierrot, 1918. Oil On Canvas, 92 x 73 cm. Museum of Modern Art, New York, USA © Succession Picasso 2015.

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Pablo Picasso (Spanish, 1881–1973), L'Homme a la Guitare, 1918. Oil On Canvas, 130 x 89 cm, Hamburger Kunsthalle, Hamburg, Germany © Succession Picasso 2015.

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Pablo Picasso (Spanish, 1881–1973), Dog and Cock, 1921. Oil On Canvas, 61 x 30 1/8 in., 154.9 x 76.5 cm. Yale University Art Gallery. Gift of Stephen Carlton Clark, B.A. 1903, 1958.1 © Succession Picasso 2015.

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Pablo Picasso (Spanish, 1881–1973), Still life with a Guitar, 1924. Oil On Canvas, Kunsthaus, Zurich, Switzerland © Succession Picasso 2015

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Pablo Picasso (Spanish, 1881–1973), Still Life with Fish, 1923. Oil On Canvas, 18 1/4 x 21 1/2 in., Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, The Philip L. Goodwin Collection, Gift of James L. Goodwin, Henry Sage Goodwin, and Richmond L. Brown, 1958.220 © Succession Picasso 2015.

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Pablo Picasso (Spanish, 1881–1973), The Source (La Source), 1921. Oil On Canvas, 64 x 90 cm. Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, Moderna Museet, Stockholm, Donation 1970 from Grace and Philip Sandblom © 2010 Picasso Administration, Paris, France..

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Pablo Picasso (Spanish, 1881–1973), Le Vieux Marc, 1912. Oil On Canvas, 38.5 x 55.5 cm, Musee d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, Paris, France © Succession Picasso 2015

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Pablo Picasso (Spanish, 1881–1973), Bottle of Anis del Mono, 1915. Oil On Canvas, 18 1/8 x 21 1/2 in., 46 x 54.6 cm. Detroit Institute of Arts, Bequest of Robert H. Tannahill, 70.192 © Succession Picasso 2015.

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Pablo Picasso (Spanish, 1881–1973), Still Life with a Bottle, Playing Cards, and a Wineglass on a Table, 1914. Oil, Sand, And Graphite On Sketch Board, Mounted On Cradled Wood Panel, 12 1/2 x 16 7/8 in., 31.8 x 42.9 cm, Philadelphia Museum of Art, A. E. Gallatin Collection, 1952, 1952-61-95 © Succession Picasso 2015.

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Pablo Picasso (Spanish, 1881–1973), The Painter in his Studio (Le peintre dans son atelier), 1963. Oil On Canvas, 23 3/8 x 35 7/8 in., 59.37 x 91.12 cm, Yale University Art Gallery, Charles B. Benenson, B.A. 1933, Collection, 2006.52.23 © Succession Picasso 2015

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Pablo Picasso (Spanish, 1881–1973), Still Life with a Bottle, Playing Cards, and a Wineglass on a Table, 1936. Oil On Canvas, 28 3/4 x 23 1/2 in., 73 x 59.7 cm, Yale University Art Gallery, Charles B. Benenson, B.A. 1933, Collection, 2006.52.22 © Succession Picasso 2015

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Pablo Picasso (Spanish, 1881–1973), Horseman, Page, and Monk (Chevalier, page et moine), 1951. Gesso And Oil On Wood Panel, 17 x 21 3/4 in., 43.18 x 55.245 cm, Yale University Art Gallery, Charles B. Benenson, B.A. 1933, Collection, 2006.52.21 © Succession Picasso 2015

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Pablo Picasso (Spanish, 1881–1973), First Steps, 1943. Oil On Canvas, 51 1/4 x 38 1/4 in., 130.2 x 97.1 cm, Yale University Art Gallery, Gift of Stephen Carlton Clark, B.A. 1903, 1958.27 © Succession Picasso 2015

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Pablo Picasso (Spanish, 1881–1973), Seated Woman (Femme assise), 1947. Oil On Canvas, 39 5/16 x 31 3/4 in., 99.9 x 80.7 cm, Yale University Art Gallery, Katharine Ordway Collection, 1980.12.21 © Succession Picasso 2015

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Pablo Picasso (Spanish, 1881–1973), Vase, Gourd, and Fruit on a Table (Vase, Gourde, Fruits sur une table), 1908-9. Oil On Canvas, 28 3/4 x 23 9/16 in., 73.03 x 59.85 cm, Yale University Art Gallery, John Hay Whitney, B.A. 1926, M.A. (Hon.) 1956, Collection, 1982.111.3 © Succession Picasso 2015

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Pablo Picasso (Spanish, 1881–1973), Vase of Flowers and Pitcher, 1937. Oil On Canvas, 23 7/16 x 27 1/2 in., 59.5 x 69.9 cm, Yale University Art Gallery, Gift of Stephen Carlton Clark, B.A. 1903, 1954.29.1 © Succession Picasso 2015

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Pablo Picasso (Spanish, 1881–1973), Blanquita Suárez1917. Oil On Canvas, 73.3 x 47 cm. Museo Picasso, Barcelona, Spain, MPB 110.013 © Succession Picasso 2016

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Pablo Picasso (Spanish, 1881–1973), Still Life on a Pedestal Table in Front of a Window, 1919. Gouache And Pencil On Paper, 19 5/16 x 12 3/16 in., 49 x 30.9 cm. Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Partial, fractional and promised gift of Janice and Henri Lazarof, M.2005.70.100 © Succession Picasso 2016

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Pablo Picasso (Spanish, 1881–1973), Seated Man with Pipe1916. Watercolor And Graphite On Paper, 12 3/8 x 9 1/4 in., 31.43 x 23.5 cm. Columbus Museum of Art, Gift of Ferdinand Howald, 1931.088 © Succession Picasso 2015