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8/1/2012 Houston-- Picasso Black and White, the first major exhibition to focus on the artist’s lifelong exploration of a black-and-white palette throughout his career, will be presented at the Guggenheim Museum from October 5, 2012 to January 23, 2013. Featuring paintings, sculptures, and works on paper from 1904 to 1971, the exhibition will offer new and striking insights into Picasso’s vision and working methods. This chronological presentation includes significant loans—many of which have not been exhibited or published before—drawn from museum, private, and public collections across Europe and the United States, including numerous works from the Picasso family. Following its New York premiere, the exhibition will travel to the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, where it will be on view from February 24 to May 27, 2013.

Picasso Black and White is organized by Carmen Giménez, Stephen and Nan Swid Curator of Twentieth-Century Art, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, with assistance from Karole Vail, Associate Curator, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. In Houston, the exhibition is coordinated by Gary Tinterow, director of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, and Alison de Lima Greene, curator of contemporary art and special projects.
“Picasso is widely considered the most important artist of the 20th century,” said Gary Tinterow, MFAH director. “Picasso Black and White will be the first comprehensive exhibition of Picasso’s paintings and sculpture to be seen in Houston, expanding upon the Museum’s pioneering Picasso and Photography: The Dark Mirror, held in 1997. Our colleague Carmen Giménez is one of the great Picasso scholars, and she brings to this project an unerring eye and absolute understanding of the artist’s work. With this latest exploration, Picasso’s compelling use of line, as opposed to color, can now be fully appreciated.”

Few artists have exerted as considerable an influence over subsequent generations as Pablo Picasso (1881–1973). While his work is often seen through the lens of his diverse styles and subjects, the recurrent use of black, white, and gray is frequently overlooked. Picasso Black and White will demonstrate how the artist was continuously investigating, inventing, and drawing in austere monochromatic tones throughout his career.
Picasso Black and White presents a unique and illuminating perspective on a lesser-known but fascinating aspect of his formidable body of work. Picasso’s Blue and Rose periods include, in effect, works painted in delicate black, white, and gray soft light shadings, and his pioneering investigations into Cubism are condensed to geometric and deconstructed components of austere gray tones. Likewise, his neoclassical figure paintings allude to the cool tonalities of Greek and Roman sculpture as well as to European painting and drawing for which Picasso always had a strong affinity, and his explorations into Surrealism comprise sensual works composed in a panoply of grays. The forceful and somber scenes of war, the allegorical still lifes, and the vivid interpretations of art-historical masterpieces display a striking intensity through minimal means. Finally, the highly sexualized works of his twilight years feature graphic black and white drawing, at times tender, but always vigorous, and convey the direct mode of spontaneous and raw expression that is so typical of Picasso’s output.