Sunday, April 12, 2009

Gotta Love Picasso

You've gotta love Picasso!
Shazza, M, Semiconductor and I visited the Cezanne and Beyond exhibit at the Philadelphia Museum of Art Friday. This was a wonderful exhibit, not just of Cezanne's work, but of many of the artists who were influenced by him. In one gallery, there was a wonderful painting of Madame Cezanne in her red armchair. There were also three or four paintings done by other artists (Matisse, Picasso, Beckmann) of their significant women, muses, mistresses et al in red armchairs.
This particular Picasso painting was of his mistress at the time. I enjoyed the painting. I thought it was quite beautiful. I picked up on the exposed breast and felt that Picasso must have felt that this woman was quite sexually attractive.
Afterwards, M asked Shazza and me if we noticed this painting. We did. It was quite remarkable. This spurred a bit of interesting conversation! I will not drop the ball. I want to know YOUR thoughts!
I have just completed teaching a unit on art criticism. Art criticism consists of the following four elements: Description, (what, who, where & how?), Analysis (what formal elements did the artist use?), Interpretation (What was the artist trying to say) and Judgment (Was the artist successful? What do you like and/or dislike about the painting?)
I thought it would be fun to ask fellow bloggers to criticize this painting. I will not forget M's interpretation. I just want to know if anyone else had a similar reaction. Steve Wynn, the owner of the painting and Las Vegas casinos felt the same as M. ( This is a bit of a psychological experiment. Please post your responses!
After you have commented, click on the post title find the link to Nora Ephron's blog. You will discover some other interesting history/trivia about this painting. Does your interpretation match Mr. Wynn's? What does that say about Picasso? What does that say about you? Something to contemplate on this Easter evening. Love and Peace to you all.


dive said...

I'm no art critic, Neetzy, but I love Picasso and I adore this work.
I can see one of the things that must have attracted you, being the negative spaces formed by the sinuous lines and shapes he uses to describe her form.
Yes, she is beautiful and yes, she is erotic but she is also languid and relaxed and happy and her face makes me sigh with contentment.
I know people like to read symbolism into Picasso's paintings and to look for "signs" in shapes and colours that were probably not there in his mind when he painted it (whether they were there subconsciously is another thing - he was a randy old goat), but I look at the whole of this painting and I love it.
It makes me happy.

I read the Steve Wynn piece and it was pretty gross, but it won't stop me enjoying the painting for its quiet, serene beauty.

I'm glad you all had a great time at the exhibition.

neetzy said...


The exhibition was spectactular. Cezanne was quite a pioneer and he is one of my strong influences. I had previously gone to a Cezanne landscape exhibit at the National Gallery. This one was better.

As far as "symbolism", I don't know? I didn't notice anything unusual until M mentioned it. Mr. Wynn seems to think along the same lines. I didn't think it was as gross as it was funny. As a painter, I chuckle when people find things in my paintings that I did not intend. Some things just happen!

Janelle Goodwin said...

Neetzy, I looked at it and then when I read the link, I thought, yah that's what I thought it was. After seeing a movie on Picasso's life, I came away forever jaded on the man. Interesting painting with a hilarious story.

Shazza said...

Neetzy - I'm glad you posted this, I was going to but never got around to it.

I think what was even funnier about it was that M was standing next to a young boy at the time and she has this impression that he saw the same thing to, but both of them were afraid to say anything!

Now I can't stop seeing it!

Poetikat said...

Well she certainly looks content and satisfied is a word I would use - well, I suppose she would be what with the placement of her hands, the open-air breast and the tilt of her head. She's wearing a short skirt or a even just a scarf wrapped around her nether regions. I know Picasso was rather controllling of women, so perhaps he got off on watching them pleasure themselves too.

We saw a Picasso exhibit in Ottawa a few years back. It really is stunning work.
Oh, and Hopkins does an amazing job of portraying him on film.


neetzy said...


I had no idea until someone else mentioned it. Now that's all I see. It is funny how the mind works.


The only reason I remembered is because they showed that painting on TV Sunday night. Mr. Wynn accidently ripped the painting! BTW He had the same interpretation as M!


Picasso was definitely a character and a ladies' man. Did you check that link?

Poetikat said...

Wow! So then it looks like a face licking a phallic piece on top of her head. He was a bit weird,wasn't he?


neetzy said...


I'd say he's a bit weird. Picasso had a bit of a rep. I didn't see that phallic piece originally.

Winifred said...

Have to admit I'm no Picasso fan but after I visited the Picasso museum in Barcelona I saw how brilliant an artist he was before he moved into cubism and surrealism.

Now Dali, he was something else!

neetzy said...


I'm glad your discovered that. He truly was a brilliant "Realist" artist. He became interpretive and "abstract" by choice and therein lies his brilliance. As a painter, I go between realism, impressionism, abstraction and fantasy type painting. I've not yet decided what I want to settle down with. I'd like to develop my own style. I believe that will eventually happen. I just have to keep painting.