Picasso in Chelsea

img00097 Very much the talk of the town these days, actually both in London and in New York, Picasso’s late work hangs at Gagosian Gallery on 21st Street in Chelsea in an exhibition titled, Picasso: Mosqueteros.  The exhibition is curated by John Richardson, an old friend of the artist as well as his biographer who has published three volumes of A Life of Picasso.  The show is of excellent examples of Picasso’s late images of the musketeers from various private collections around the world (including the Cohen’s exceptional Homme a la Pipe, November 7, 1968 – see prior post for more on that collection’s current exhibitions) and a couple of arts institutions.  Explicit in nature, many of the works depict the musketeer (who must be read as Picasso) vanquishing his nude muse, here in the form of Picasso’s second wife Jacqueline.  Others are simply portraits of 17th century men, or musketeers, as their titles explain.  In the second large room, five portraits command either side of a still life of flowers on a table, dated October 28, 1969, along the large back wall.  The works are sometimes subtle with gentle washes of colors lending oil paint the effect of watercolor.  Other works are jarring in vibrant color applied in a thick impasto.  The paintings are often large and provide the viewer with exaggeratedly close up views of the subjects, and the dark, back room is alternatively filled with small lithographs requiring a close-up stance by the viewer in order to decipher the images.

The exhibition is on view through June 6, 2009  Gagosian Gallery, 522 West 21st Street, New York, NY 10011.