This music video from Britain says about itself:
The making of “Dove of Peace: Homage to Picasso”
In May 2010 Ensemble 10/10 performed the world premiere of the new Clarinet concerto, “Dove of Peace: Homage to Picasso” by the acclaimed Spanish composer Benet Casablancas. Watch this short documentary about the work’s relevance and background, and links to Picasso: Peace and Freedom at Tate Liverpool (21 May to 31 August 2010). This video include interviews with the key representatives involved with the commission, including Benet Casablancas, Andrew Cornall, Artistic Director of Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, Christoph Grunenberg, Director of Tate Liverpool.
You can watch the entire performance by RLPO Principal Clarinet, Nicholas Cox, with Ensemble 10/10,in two parts here.
Flight of Fancy – Picasso and the dove called Peace
By John Fanshawe, 14 Oct 2016
When the author, Louis Aragon, chose Pablo Picasso’s lithograph, La Colombe (The Dove), for a poster commemorating the Paris Peace Conference in 1949, he was building on the artist’s complex relationship with both doves and peace. Picasso’s father, José Ruiz y Blasco, was an artist in Malaga, and specialised in paintings of doves and pigeons.
The birds had featured in Picasso’s work since childhood when he often took his pet pigeons to school and drew them. An early Parisian work, Child Holding a Dove, 1901, was painted when the artist was just 19. For many people, however, it is Picasso’s deceptively simple line drawings of doves that are the most memorable and symbolic celebrations of peace, and their genesis lies in an infamous act of war. On 26 April 1937, Picasso had been living in Paris for almost 40 years. Late that afternoon, German and Italian aircraft attacked the Basque town of Guernica – a frontline of republican resistance to Spanish dictator Franco. Crowded both for market day, and with throngs of refugees from the civil war, the aerial bombing devastated the town, and killed a large number of non-combatants.
A year before, Picasso had been commissioned by Spain to create a work for the country’s pavilion at the Paris International Exposition. As reports of the outrage circulated, notably from George Steer, the Times reporter, the bombing caused an international uproar. Within a fortnight, Picasso began a painting that has become an iconic symbol of war protest. Until then, though his work invariably provoked powerful reactions, it had not been outwardly political. With its scale, Guernica is a devastating black, grey and white work full of fractured ruin, fire, and figures, both people, and the totemic domestic symbols for Spain, the bull and horse.
Picasso remained in Paris throughout the Nazi occupation, and though Guernica was safely in the US, it was the painting that crystalised his involvement in the post-war peace movement. In the spring of 1949, his then-wife, Françoise Gilot, gave birth to their second child, and they called her Paloma, Spanish for dove, perhaps responding to the numerous peace posters bearing Picasso’s first ‘peace dove’. The bird itself had been a gift from his friend, Henri Matisse, who is shown in a photo by Henri Cartier-Bresson clasping one of his own birds. From that first figurative lithograph, a wealth of line drawings grew of doves, often carrying sprigs of leaves, or surrounded with flowers, or alongside faces, often mantling them with their wings. In 1950, Picasso visited the Peace Congress in Sheffield, UK. Asked to speak there, he recalled how his father had taught him to paint doves, and finished with the words, ‘I stand for life against death; I stand for peace against war’. Even now, the World Peace Council has a Picasso dove as its emblem, a legacy built from childhood, from war, from friendship, and the simple gift of a bird from one great artist to another.
Translated from Dutch NOS TV:
He rarely went on vacation, but in 1905 he clearly needed it. The 23-year-old Pablo Picasso (1881-1973) fled the heat and bustle of Paris. To this rare vacation the Alkmaar Municipal Museum is dedicating an exhibition.
Picasso was staying for several weeks in Schoorl, at the cottage of his acquaintance Tom Schilperoort. He knew the Dutchman from Paris. The self-styled bohemian and journalist had seen it correctly: Picasso craved inspiration.
He worked on his famous Famille de Saltimbanques. The composition and the background he did not like, but how should he change that? He was not sure yet. With in his luggage a sketchbook, brush and some paint he took the train and in Alkmaar he got out. Probably in June and almost certainly on a Friday when the cheese market is.
Pyramids of cheese: he will remember them years later in amazement. Just like the Dutch women. Tall and glowing with health.
Picasso walked through Alkmaar. “It was a provincial town where the farmers did their shopping,” says historian Gerrit Valk, who has done years of research into the fascinating Holland weeks of the master. “There were many women in West Frisian costume.” White caps, skirts, clogs come back in the sketches that Picasso makes. As a tourist he draws the windmills, the stepped gables of the houses along the canals of Alkmaar and a visitor with a prostitute in a brothel in Alkmaar.
The cottage in Schoorl is gone, but there exists a picture of the interior with Schilperoort, Picasso and a certain Nelly. Most likely she was Petronella Timmer, who kept the cottages clean. In the seaside village Picasso is impressed by the light, the dunes and the color of the sand and arid pasture.
About the women he would say later that they rolled off the dunes. He probably has seen the traditional ‘girls market’, where the peasant girls danced and drank and rolled while flirting off the dunes they had climbed and started dating.
The summer-house was too stuffy for Picasso, so he rented a room in Schoorldam. He is found much in the local pub Lands Welvaren. There a special chair was bought for him without arm rests, as these bothered him while drawing. After the departure of Picasso the chair disappeared into the attic, but it remained in the family.
Recently, the Picasso chair was donated to the Stedelijk Museum Alkmaar. This was for director Lidewij de Koekkoek the stimulus to make a long-cherished wish come true. To make a modest exhibition on the holiday of the world famous painter.
“This is a dream come true,” she says radiantly as the nude La Belle Hollandaise is unzipped with utmost care. An employee of the museum in Brisbane, Australia supervises and controls the work, every square centimeter of it, before it can hang. It is put alongside the other gouache Picasso made in West Friesland Les Trois Hollandaises from the Picasso Museum in Paris. We have to guess who the three women are. Possibly, it is always the same woman, but then in a different position.
Even more interesting would be to know who was the model for the nude. In prudish West Friesland a girl took her clothes off in front of Picasso and kept only her white lace cap on. Lidewij de Koekkoek sees the work for the first time and is moved by it. Now that it hangs, all sorts of details become remarkable. The dreamy look in her eyes. Was she in love? Was the Spanish painter her lover? And the way the girl bends the fingers of her hand, does she indicate that she is pregnant?
Picasso’s holiday in Holland lasted only a few weeks. But short as that was, the period had an influence on his development as an artist. After his return he finished the world famous painting of the acrobat family Famille de Saltimbanques. The background was changed: he put the circus artists in a dune landscape. In the background there are unmistakably dunes such as near the North Sea beach.
The exhibition Picasso in Holland is until 28 August at the Stedelijk Museum in Alkmaar.
Picasso’s ceramics exhibition in Scheveningen: here.
In 2008, Silvio Berlusconi was Prime Minister of Italy. He had become a rich man by television shows full of women with hardly any clothes on. Still, Berlusconi censored a painting by the 18th-century Venetian master Giovanni Battista Tiepolo. Berlusconi censored it because on that painting there was a woman (symbolizing Truth) with a naked breast. That breast was censored.
Berlusconi used to be friends with Rupert Murdoch then. Not anymore later. Like Rupert Murdoch also used to be pals with Tony Blair. But he also quarreled with Blair later.
From Newsweek in the USA:
14 May 2015 at 15:06 ET
Posted with permission from Newsweek
The Women of Algiers (Version “O”), a painting by Pablo Picasso, became the most expensive work to ever sell at an auction this week. Sadly, some TV viewers of a New York affiliate of Fox were treated to a blurry, G-rated version.
The painting, which sold for $179.4 million at Christie’s auction house in New York on Monday night, shows several female figures in the Cubist style, including several pairs of breasts and a couple of errant nipples. Fox 5, the Fox affiliate in New York City, obscured three pairs of breasts and covered up two nipples with a news banner at the bottom of the screen.
The decision by Fox 5 to blur part of the female anatomy was blasted by Jerry Saltz, senior art critic for New York magazine, who took to Twitter on Wednesday night.
“How sexually sick are conservatives & Fox News? They blurred parts of the Picasso painting,” he tweeted, adding the hashtag #SickMinds. …
The 1955 painting, which Picasso began in 1954, was sold after 11 minutes of bidding, the BBC reports. The final price, including a 12 percent commission fee, was $179.4 million, beating the previous world record of $142.2 million set in 2013 by Francis Bacon’s painting Three Studies of Lucien Freud. The final price for The Women of Algiers (Version “O”) far surpassed the original estimate of $140 million.
This video says about itself:
1 May 2011
Check out this antiwar mural by Pablo Picasso commemorating the bombing of Guernica.
A bit less known, because of Cold War politics, is a similar, later, painting, Massacre in Korea.
From Tate in Britain:
France’s history and politics in the post-war period was closely tied up with its relationship with its colonies and their bid for independence. In the midst of these events Picasso made the link with Eugène Delacroix’s The Women of Algiers 1834. His dialogue with Delacroix can be traced back to a number of early drawings from 1940 and the famous ‘Louvre’ test of 1946 in which Picasso directly juxtaposed his work with masterpieces in the museum. Picasso would have been drawn to Delacroix’s idea of the authenticity of antiquity in North Africa and to the relationship of Spanish culture to the period of Moorish domination.
The colours of Algeria were a great influence on Delacroix. Picasso explores colour throughout his series of paintings after Delacroix, also producing one monochrome version. Picasso also appreciated the patterning in a tiled interior, which can be seen as a continuation of his concern with handicraft and folk embroideries from Eastern Europe. Picasso’s sympathies remained with those who were deprived of their freedom or subjected to repression and torture.
Today, one painting of Picasso’s series The Women of Algiers is big news in the big media. However, the news is mainly not about war, repression, or torture; but about big money.
This 1 April 2015 video says about itself:
Picasso’s masterpiece Les Femmes d’ Alger to go for auctions.
From daily The Independent in Britain:
Pablo Picasso‘s Women of Algiers sells for $179m to set new world auction record
Auction was held in New York by Christie’s
Andrew Buncombe, New York
Tuesday 12 May 2015
How much would someone pay for a brightly hued painting of a woman revealing her breasts set against a jumble of Cubist angles and shapes? If it was the work of Pablo Picasso, a quiet $179,365,000.
In truth, there was nothing quiet about the auction of the Women of Algiers (Version O) in New York on Monday evening, nor of the anticipation prior to its sale that it would set a new world record.
Indeed, when news broke that bidding at Christie’s had passed the $142.4m paid out two years ago for Francis Bacon’s Three Studies of Lucian Freud, it appears that nobody was particularly surprised.
The sale also featured Alberto Giacometti’s life-size sculpture Pointing Man, which sold for $141m, earning it the title of most expensive sculpture ever sold at auction. The buyers of neither of the works was immediately made public.
It was part of a 15-work series Picasso created in 1954-55 designated with the letters A through O. It has appeared in several major museum retrospectives of the artist.
Experts said the prices are driven by artworks’ investment value and by wealthy new and established collectors seeking out the very best works.
“I don’t really see an end to it, unless interest rates drop sharply, which I don’t see happening in the near future,” New York art dealer Richard Feigen told the news agency.
Adapted from an earlier blog post:
Dutch daily NRC Handelsblad of 6 May 2004 published a Top 10 of most expensive works of art. Paintings, all of them.
The most expensive one of all, by Pablo Picasso, was sold for 104,1 million $.
In the Top 10 are 4 works by Pablo Picasso. An artist with far more luck than many others, in that appreciation already came during his lifetime.
So, compared to the overwhelming majority of artists, he was able to live well from his art. Still, he was much less of a millionaire than the speculators dealing in his work after his death. Picasso’s Les Demoiselles d’Avignon is widely seen as one of the most influential paintings, maybe even the most influential painting, of the twentieth century. Yet its maker got only 25,000 French francs for it, from a wealthy fashion designer. In 1937, The Museum of Modern Art in New York bought it for 28,000 dollars. While if some art dealer would sell the painting today, he would sell it for tens of millions of dollars, or more.
Mondrian Sells for $50.6 M., a New Record, at Christie’s $202.6 M. Impressionist-Modern Sale: here.
This video is called Pablo Picasso – Guernica (1937).
By Christine Lindey in Britain:
Exhibition Review: Conscience and Conflict: British Artists and the Spanish civil war
Tuesday 25th November 2014
THE momentous interwar years between 1918 and 1939 galvanised British artists into political commitment. Inspired by the Bolshevik revolution, and appalled by the rise of fascism and the deprivation caused by the great depression, many turned to the left. Defence of the Spanish republic against the 1936 fascist insurrection united the anti-fascist peace movement.
This exhibition about British artists’ responses to the Spanish civil war highlights wider 1930s political and aesthetic debates. Art historian Roger Fry’s dominant ideology of “art for art’s sake” was contested by calls for politically engaged art by socialist and communist artists.
While working as an illustrator in the USSR in the early 1930s Cliff Rowe was impressed by its cultural policies. On returning home he founded the Artists International in 1933. It called for “the international unity of artists against imperialist war on the Soviet Union, fascism and colonial oppression” and its purpose was to spread this message through posters, banners, illustrations, exhibitions, meetings and lectures.
The following year it was equipped with a politically milder slogan and renamed the Artists International Association (AIA). Its membership grew rapidly and in 1936-9 it became the main focus for artists’ defence of Spain by raising public consciousness and funds.
Browne, at the age of 32, was the first British volunteer killed in battle and in her self-portrait she returns our gaze squarely as a woman belligerently defiant of social convention.
She became a posthumous communist hero as commemorative exhibitions and publications of her uncompromisingly decisive drawings of Spanish militiamen and women raised money for Spain.
Other artists argued that creating propaganda was more useful and several rejected easel painting in favour of public arts as more effective tools of socio-political change.
The exhibition includes the AIA’s modernist banner for the British battalion of the International Brigade created by James Lucas, Phyllis Ladyman and Betty Rea, James Boswell’s illustrations for Left Review and Felicity Ashbee’s posters. The latter’s emotive portrayals of desperate war victims combine accessible figurative drawing with expressionist exaggeration such as enlarged pleading eyes and skeletal hands. The London County Council provided 22 large hoardings which AIA artists painted in public, so raising media and public awareness for Aid for Spain as they worked.
Other artists conveyed their beliefs through traditional means. Henry Rayner’s powerful print There is No Shelter chillingly reveals the mercilessness of aerial bombing. Of the several figures huddling for safety under a giant umbrella, the one holding it up turns out to be death personified as a skeleton.
Branson’s socialist-realist paintings stemmed from his communist desire to reach a wide audience. His Demonstration in Battersea (1939) celebrates collective action as demonstrators set off with communist and republican flags and banners amid the working-class district’s terrace housing, gasworks and factories.
Some British surrealists also opposed fascism and contributed imaginative masks and costumes to the 1938 May Day procession. Finding and exhibiting two of these props is a real scoop. Yet the meanings of most of their works — such as Stanley Hayter’s — are so elliptical or ambiguous that it is not clear that they refer to Spain, nor indeed even to antimilitarism.
The enervated forms and distorted figures in his Paysage Anthropophage (1937) could equally refer to personal or psychological anguish or to conflicts between unspecified humans or animals. In the 1930, when academic art still dominated, their adherence to abstracted or imaginary motifs were largely incompressible to most people.
Picasso also used modernist distortions in his Guernica canvas of 1937 but the motifs, such as the distraught woman running while carrying her dead child, and the bull as symbol of Spain make the painting’s meaning clear. It toured Britain with related works to raise funds for Spanish Relief in 1938, when it made a massive impression on British artists.
That exhibition’s catalogue is on show, along with Picasso’s Crying Woman and his satirical print The Dream of Franco alongside British works influenced by Guernica, such as FE McWilliam’s Spanish Head, with its anguished gaping mouth and carnivorous teeth.
Also displayed is the recent recreating of Guernica as a large banner in Pallant House. It was stitched by a collective including political refugees, anti-fascists and the Palestine Solidarity Campaign to express the continuing need to protest against war and political oppression.
Together with its catalogue, this informative and well-researched exhibition of art, documentation and rare memorabilia makes a valuable contribution to knowledge about 1930s British politically aware art.
It rather overemphasises surrealists and modernists but it refrains from taking the all-too-common patronising attitude to artists with communist and socialist convictions.
It will hopefully galvanise a new generation to create politically committed art.
Conscience and Conflict: British Artists and the Spanish civil war runs at Pallant House Gallery, Chichester, until February 2015. Free. Details: www.pallant.org.uk
Conscience and Conflict is the first major exhibition to look at the response of British artists to the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939): here.
No Other Way: Oxfordshire and the Spanish Civil War 1936-39 by Chris Farman, Valery Rose and Liz Woolley (Oxford IBMC, £8): review here.
This video from England says about itself:
Picasso Peace and Freedom. A very impressive and well presented exhibition dedicated to P. Picasso. It shows more than 200 works of Picasso. A must for people interested in fine and sophisticated artistic material.
By Mark O’Brien in Britain:
Tate exhibition shows how art has always blossomed through revolt and revolution
Tate Liverpool’s new exhibition looks at more than two centuries of art, social movements and the left.Mark O’Brien says its scope is breathtaking
Art has never been separate from politics, or indeed from life. The Art Turning Left: How Values Changed Making 1789-2013 exhibition drives that message home.
The coherence of the exhibition does not lie in the outward assembly of the art. Here for example, you will find Jacques-Louis David’s painting The Death of Marat (1793) alongside an Art and Soccer (1986) television installation from the Zvono Group of Bosnia and Herzogovina.
Rather, this extraordinarily diverse collection is organised through a series of provocative questions, such as “Is the identity of the artist more important than the artwork itself?” “How can art infiltrate everyday life?” “Can pursuing equality change how art is made?” and so on.
Art interacts with social movements, national liberation struggles, community protests, revolts and revolutions in many different ways.
In the May 68 section, the posters of the Atelier Populaire workshop testify to the democratic creativity of a revolutionary moment. It emerged from a spontaneous meeting of art students and protesters at the Ecole des Beaux Arts.
The works of the Spanish Equipo Group established in Paris, 1957 show the values of rationalism and anti-individualism that are points of return for the successive generations of left-wing artists on display.
So also does the piece Collective Operation from the first Congress of Free Artists held in Italy in 1956, which shows artists merging their individual efforts into a single work.
Similarly the works of the US feminist Guerrilla Girls who in 1985 asked “Do women have to be naked to get in to the Met. Museum?” were produced as an anonymous collective.
A photographic commentary on the disaster of war by Bertolt Brecht is placed alongside a small Brechtian theatrical installation. Art of the movement is also displayed in the work of Walter Crane, the socialist illustrator, cartoonist and designer of grand old trade union banners.
Running through the exhibition are the questions of the value and purpose of artistic production. The Arts and Crafts movement inspired by the work of William Morris presents one answer—that art should be a salvation from the degradation of life under capitalism, a “redemption from slavery”.
The continuation of that idea is shown in the German Workers Council for Art movement in Germany, from the Bauhaus movement that came after and in the Productivist art of Liubov Popova in the 1920s in Russia.
The sheer range of this exhibition is breathtaking—and the relationship between art and revolts against capitalism is striking.
Art Turning Left: How Values Changed Making 1789-2013 Tate Liverpool until 2 February, £8.80/£6.60.
See also here.
- Art Turning Left: revolution in the head (theguardian.com)
- Personal Statement (duckworthh13.wordpress.com)
- Art Turning Left: How Values Changed Making 1789-2013 – review (theguardian.com)
- Art Turning Left, Tate Liverpool, review (telegraph.co.uk)
- Constructivism (Part One) (waylonfarrugia.wordpress.com)
- Art Turning Left – Tate Liverpool (theliverpooleye.wordpress.com)
- Beauty of Utility: an Exhibition of the Folk Art Movement (japanartnews.wordpress.com)
- Art movement: expressionism – (wrightl13.wordpress.com)
- Cubism (coringraham.wordpress.com)
- Guest Blog: Cubism- The Style of Art That Truly Represents Reality (wordtransfuser.com)