"The creativity of Picasso knew no bounds, making this small but dynamic exhibition a true must-see show." CMA Chief Curator Will South
Picasso: Master Prints showcases etchings, lithographs and pochoirs (stencils) by Pablo Picasso, one of the most influential artists of the 20th century. Best known as the inventor of Cubism, Picasso was prolific in still life, figurative art, and mythological scenes, all of which are featured in this exhibition. No matter what kind of print he was making or what the subject matter was, Picasso brought an extraordinary level of innovation and expertise to the art of printmaking, making every work in this exhibition a master print.
Fourteen of the prints in this exhibition are on loan to the CMA from the Weatherspoon Art Museum in Greensboro, NC. Picasso sold these prints directly to his friends and active art collectors, Etta and Claribel Cone. In turn, the famous Cone sisters gave them to the Weatherspoon Museum. This selection includes a set of 10 color pochoirs made in the early 1920s. The set of pochoirs in Master Prints was published by Picasso's dealer of that time, Paul Rosenberg. Picasso's images were inspired by his work for the famous Ballets Russe (Russian Ballet) and the Commedia dell'Arte, a 16th century form of Italian theatre characterized by masks. Themes from these two theatrical sources made their way into the prints through the characters of Harlequin (a clown) and Pulcinella (the ancestor of Punch). Visitors also see the guitar—the instrument of the wandering troubadour—reconfigured by way of Cubism.
In addition to the brilliantly colored pochoirs, this exhibition includes classic black and white work by the master. One is The Coiffure of 1923. In his neoclassical style, Picasso transforms the visual solidity of Greek sculpture into minimalist modern lines. Though this image is small in scale and the artist uses almost no detail, a sense of classical grandeur is realized by positioning the figures in a pyramid.