Picasso – Rodin at Rodin Museum in Paris

Picasso was a ‘sponge’, he absorbed so many influences and themes to create a unique visual language which revolutionized modern art. Picasso – Rodin, an intimate exhibition presented at Musée Rodin until 2nd January 2022, and curated by Catherine Chevillot, Chief Curator, Director of the Musée Rodin; Véronique Mattiussi, Head of Research, Historical Archive Manager, Musée Rodin; Virginie Perdrisot-Cassan, Curator of Sculpture, Ceramics and Giacometti Furniture, Musée National Picasso-Paris, brilliantly highlights the parallels between both artists’ oeuvres. This exhibition is the result of a unique partnership between the two institutions, the Rodin Museum and the Picasso Museum, both located in Paris.

The opening of monographic museums dedicated to Rodin and Picasso marked the apogees of these artists. Following donations by the artist in 1916, the Musée Rodin opened in Hotel Biron, Paris in 1919. Meanwhile the Musée Picasso-Paris was established and opened in 1985 at Hotel Salé, thanks to the Pablo Picasso donations in 1979 and 1990. These two museums opened a paths for more individual museums devoted to these artists: Picasso Museum in Vallauris, Antibes, Barcelona and Malaga for example. Picasso – Rodin presented in Paris now, also stresses the importance of individual collections.

Each artist invented new forms of representations, constantly experimenting with forms and materials throughout their successful careers. This dual exhibition, featuring over 500 works, paintings, sculptures, ceramics, drawings, archival documents and photographs, offers a new take on the lives of two geniuses and juxtaposes their works to create new understandings of their practices.

From the 1880s, Rodin’s rejection of naturalism and of the principle of imitation led him to invent an expressionist language that prompted discussions and rejections from art critics and collecting elites before reaching unanimous admiration. Picasso broke the codes of representations to invent Cubism and pushed the boundaries of painting, sculpture and poetry. The pursuit of their personal visual ethos is stunningly expressed through the works on view in the exhibition.

“The exhibition brings together two extraordinary artists with a lot in common, they were both prolific artists and had an absolute devotion to their art. They both marked their time and the show is an opportunity to discover incredible points of convergence between the two oeuvres.” – Véronique Mattiussi said.

Love, Greco-Roman culture, and nature are themes explored in the exhibition. Both artists collected fragments of natural elements, using branches, pebbles or shells to give form to their creativity. They used nature as a source of inspiration and means to achieve their visions. Prints and casts of plane tree leaves, for example, served as reminders of an ephemeral beauty. The exhibition showcases some of these works and the first section of the exhibition is particularly fascinating.