Monday, January 24, 2011

Fresh eyes discover Picasso's Guitar and a young-Goya masterpiece

When I first toured the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg in 1976, the USSR's stranglehold on freedom of artistic expression thrived.

My roommate for this two week study-tour of the Soviet legal system, John Kohan, then a researcher for Time magazine, who learned his Russian in Leningrad (St. Petersburg), knew key political dissidents.

He told me the Soviets confiscated hundreds of works over its Communist history from Russian artists the state deemed anti-social or anti-Soviet. John said they were housed in the cavernous bowls of the Hermitage. Where are they today?

There are hidden treasures yet to be discovered and authenticated.

And with fresh eyes and ample curiosity, there's much to celebrate, sometimes out of an old shoe box.

"Still life with Guitar" by Picasso, 500 X 417 cm.
"Guitar 1913" by Picasso, 448 X 600 cm.

Pablo Picasso painted a small wooden toy guitar for his daughter Paloma.  Picasso eventually gave it to a friend, Italian artist Giuseppe Vittorio Parisi. Parisi, according to media reports, at age 92 handed it over to an Italian busessman for perservation and display.

Instead, it ended up in a shoe box in the apartment in Pomezia, near Rome, only discovered last week. It is painted gray, black and yellow.

For Picasso and so many other Spaniards, the guitar remains a cultural icon. Federico Garcia Lorca explored the metaphysical domain of the six-string instrument.
Lorca wrote:

The Guitar
The weeping of the guitar                  
The goblets of dawn
are smashed.
The weeping of the guitar
to silence it.
to silence it.
It weeps monotonously
as water weeps
as the wind weeps
over snowfields.
to silence it.
It weeps for distant

Picasso's infatuation with the istrument takes shape as "Picasso: Guitars 1912 - 1914," opening 13 Feb. at the Museum of Modern Art, a show of 70 drawings, construction, photographs, construction. This exhibition stems from a MOMA discovery in 2005 of the missing part of cardboard to complete Picasso's construction, "Guitar."

Meanwhile, the Metropolitan Museum of Art  opens a show 9 Feb. about the instrument itself: "Guitar Heroes: Legendary Craftsmen From Italy to New York."

This month another signfiicant revelation.
"Piedad" by Francisco Goya, 340 X 508 cm.

At age 28, Goya painted the Virgin Mary with the body of Jesus, in 1774--"Piedad."  So says Madrid art historian Anson Navarro

Purchased by a Barcelona collector in 2008, the work was thought to be by Francisco Bayeu y Subias. Sr. Navarro reportedly studied Bayeu and Goya for more than 30 years.

Rock on and practice peace and love.

Check out ArtTraveler videos on YouTube and look in on the Via de la Plata pilgramage of Dutch walkers Joost and Rob on their blog as they trek from Seville to Santiago de Compostela.

Stefan, the ArtTraveler(TM).

1 comment:

  1. I like to paint guitars and other musical themes, myself. I am a real admirer of Goya, too. We had an exhibit of his work in MS during the late '90s. I was one of the volunteers.