Picasso Poet and Picasso and Eluard were some of the strongest exhibitions of 2019. They were recently presented at Museu Picasso in Barcelona and will be travelling to the Picasso museum in Paris, on view from 31st March 2020.
The exhibitions explore a little-known side of the Spanish master, yet dramatically significant to his creative process. The exhibition reveals Picasso’s strong interest in poetry and his interactions with poets including Apollinaire. More specifically Picasso and Eluard observes the artist and the poet’s friendship and creative collaborations through archival materials, films, drawings, paintings and personal letters. For example, together Eluard and Picasso worked together on La main à plume [The hand that holds the pen], a collective publication began during the German occupation of France, with the participation of many surrealist artists. Eluard wrote the poem “Liberté”, which became a song of struggle and hope for the French resistance.
In Picasso Poet, the juxtaposition of poems by Picasso with some of his most important paintings and drawings is striking. The exhibition also highlights the rich dialogue between his freedom with media and words.
One of the most interesting aspects of Picasso and Eluard is the influence of the charismatic Nusch, the muse and second wife of Paul Eluard. The traits of her personality captivated Pablo Picasso as did many photographers, including Man Ray and Dora Maar. This “aerial creature”, as per Brassaï’s words, was the inspiration for portraits of an extraordinary stylistic variety in which she appears alternately fragile and diaphanous, fierce or elegant.