Pablo Picasso was one of the world’s greatest draftsmen. Drawing was his primary medium for thinking, problem solving, invention, and personal expression. It was the link that connected his work in a variety of media, including painting, sculpture, printmaking, theater design, and ceramics, and was a direct tie to his predecessors. Picasso’s diverse body of original work on paper broke new ground, while also consciously incorporating aspects of the tradition from which it sprang. This autumn, The Frick Collection presents an exhibition of more than sixty drawings (works in pencil, ink, watercolor, gouache, pastel, and chalk) spanning the first thirty years of Picasso’s career, from his first signed drawing to works from the early 1920s. During these same years, museum founder Henry Clay Frick (1849–1919) was acquiring masterpieces from the early Renaissance through the end of the nineteenth century. Frick and Picasso shared an appreciation of the same artistic heritage, the former as collector, the latter as creator. An innovator who both challenged and continued the grand European tradition celebrated at the Frick, Picasso belongs to the Collection as its most irrepressible offspring, although not actually represented in its holdings. The many references to the works of El Greco, Goya, Ingres, Renoir and others that run through his drawings link them indirectly with the museum’s permanent holdings, while the sheets exude the radical new spirit of the early twentieth century.
Beginning and ending in a classical mode, this period encompasses some of the most important steps in his career: his traditional academic training, his early encounters with works by modern and Old Master artists, his creative interaction with pre-classical and tribal art, his invention with Georges Braque of cubism and papier collé, and his postwar alternation between cubism and classicism—the groundwork for all the developments in his later career. It was organized by Susan Grace Galassi, Senior Curator, The Frick Collection, and Marilyn McCully, an independent scholar and authority on Picasso, in collaboration with Andrew Robison, the Andrew W. Mellon Senior Curator of Prints and Drawings at the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.
Picasso’s Drawings, 1890–1921: Reinventing Tradition is included with paid museum admission. Timed tickets will be issued for this special exhibition, and reserving them in advance is strongly recommended. Beginning in September, timed tickets (a maximum of four per order) may be reserved online for a small processing fee at
www.frick.org or by calling Telecharge at 212.239.6200. Online tickets must be purchased at least 24 hours in advance. Subject to availability, same day and advance timed tickets may also be obtained—without a processing fee—at the Frick’s admission desk.
October 4, 2011 - January 8, 2012
The Frick Collection
1 East 70th Street
New York, NY