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Abu Dhabi to host Arab World's first exhibition of Picasso's masterpieces

posted on 26/05/2008: 777 views

The Arab world's first exhibition of the works of Pablo Picasso, spanning all periods and styles in the career of the 20th century's signature artist, is to open in Abu Dhabi this week under the patronage of His Highness General Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces.

The retrospective Picasso Abu Dhabi: Masterpieces from the Muse National Picasso, Paris, featuring 186 paintings, sculptures and drawings, will run in Gallery One of Emirates Palace from May 27 through September 4, 2008. Abu Dhabi is the second city in a nine-nation tour of the exhibition, after the launch in Madrid's Reina Sofia museum, and it is the only Middle Eastern venue on the tour.

The UAE capital will present an exclusive exhibition differentiated by the inclusion of 40 drawings, prints and illuminated manuscripts reminiscent of the Arab influences Picasso absorbed during his youth in Malaga, La Cocina and Barcelona.

The exhibition also represents the first time that the Muse National Picasso collection has been presented in the Middle East and published in an Arabic catalogue. The exhibition is being seen as a major stride forward in Abu Dhabi's mounting status as an international cultural hub.

The exhibition has been brought to the UAE capital by Tourism Development and Investment Company (TDIC) in co-operation with Mubadala Development Company (Mubadala). It is drawn exclusively from the singularly important holdings of the Muse National Picasso, Paris, which came directly from the artist's studios. This exhibition traces Picasso's career across a range of work beginning with his Blue Period Self-Portrait (1901) and concluding with Portrait of the Young Painter (1972), made only months before his death.

The exhibition explores distinct periods in Picasso's career. The first, from 1901-1909, is about the genesis of Cubism, from the Blue Period to the research around Les Demoiselles d'Avignon. The second period, from 1910-1924, covers the artist's early cubist and neo-classical works. The third, 1924-1935, includes several surrealist sculptures and the main paintings of this influential period. The fourth, from 1935-1951, places some Picasso works in the context of his preoccupation with the Spanish Civil War, World War II and the Cold War, while the final period, 1947-1972, explores Picasso's predominantly joyful post-war work.

An expansive programme of educational and public engagement initiatives has been organized to coincide with the exhibition. Designed for all age groups, the programme includes interactive activities, art workshops, illustrated lectures, guided exhibition tours, debates on Picasso and his artistic legacy, and a week-long ‘Picasso Art Club' event.

The exhibition itself includes an audiovisual room that uses film, photographic and audio collateral from the Muse National Picasso's incomparable Picasso Archives, while an audio guide gives visitors a rich and illuminating context for the artworks on view. The exhibition will also be supported by exhibition brochures in English and Arabic, as well as the publication of a special children's Picasso journal. – Emirates News Agency, WAM


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