Kunsthaus Zurich Opens Pablo Picasso Exhibition

The Kunsthaus Zürich revives the first museum exhibition devoted to Pablo Picasso. Mounted at the Kunsthaus Zürich in 1932, the show was a crucial moment in the history of modern art. Picasso had organized a very personal look at his work, with pieces chosen from his pink and blue periods and his Cubist and neo-classical phase as well as Surrealist creations, and the homage now on show reconstructs this subjective survey. With 100 works from celebrated international collections it offers an outstanding overview and is on display exclusively in Zurich. Open 15 October 2010 – 30 January 2011.

Pablo Picasso (1881-1973) had his first-ever museum retrospective in 1932. The Spanish painter had personally assembled the works for the Kunsthaus Zürich exhibition, which lasted from September to November. The exhibition constituted a veritable revolution in the art world, the first time the works for a museum show were selected by the artist himself, and not by the director. The public greeted the avant-garde artist’s subjective take on his extraordinary oeuvre with great interest. The press tracked the master’s every move from the moment he arrived in Zurich, his wife Olga and son Paulo in tow, five days before the show opened. Not everyone was equally prepared to recognize Picasso’s genius, however: in the ‘Neue Zürcher Zeitung’ the world-famous psychologist and psychotherapist C.G. Jung pronounced the painter, on the eve of his 51st birthday, schizophrenic.

The entire permanent collection of the Kunsthaus was removed to make way for more than 200 works by Picasso, 56 of them from the artist’s own collection. Oskar Schlemmer, among other painters, was amazed at the show’s ‘record business’, which saw it extended for two weeks and visited by 34,000 people during its nine-week run. Although the museum’s outlay on the exhibition far exceeded its revenues, a trend that continues to this day, the Kunsthaus was nevertheless able to acquire one of the paintings for sale at the show: ‘Guitare sur un guéridon’ (Guitar on a Pedestal), 1915.

In 2010 Picasso’s first retrospective will be revived. As it celebrates its centenary in 2010, the Kunsthaus Zürich presents itself as an institution that was open to avant-garde movements early on. With his homage to the 1932 exhibition, curators Tobia Bezzola and Simenotte Fraquelli evoke the background of the world’s first comprehensive Picasso museum show, and demonstrate its influence on the reception of the now world-famous artist. Over 70 masterpieces will be assembled in the main exhibition room, works on loan from New York’s Museum of Modern Art and Metropolitan Museum, London’s Tate Modern, and the Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza in Madrid, among other places, while private collectors in Europe and elsewhere are to lend rarely shown works of their own. The historical significance of this expensive and logistically complex exhibition, together with its selection of individual pieces, makes it a one-of-a-kind event, on show exclusively in Zurich.

Image: Pablo Picasso The Yellow Belt: Marie-Thérèse, 1932 Courtesy Nahmad Collection, Switzerland © 2010 ProLitteris, Zurich

Zürcher Kunstgesellschaft Postfach CH 8024 Zürich Tel. +41 (0)44 253 84 84 Fax +41 (0)44 253 84 33 [email protected]


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