Cover of Picasso in Fontainebleau, published by The Museum of Modern Art, New York.
October 8, 2023 – February 17, 2024
The Museum of Modern Art
The Museum of Modern Art announces Picasso in Fontainebleau, a focused exhibition examining three months in a legendary artist’s career, when he created an astonishingly varied body of work between July and September 1921 in the town of Fontainebleau, France. On view from October 8, 2023, through February 17, 2024, this exhibition will reunite both monumental versions of Picasso’s Three Musicians and Three Women at the Spring with the other major works on canvas, small preparatory paintings, line drawings, etchings, and pastels he created in Fontainebleau. This will be the first time these works have been presented together since they left Picasso’s studio. Encompassing both Cubist and classic academic styles, these works will be complemented by never-before-seen photographs and archival documents. Picasso in Fontainebleau organized by Anne Umland, The Blanchette Hooker Rockefeller Senior Curator of Painting and Sculpture, with Alexandra Morrison, Curatorial Assistant, and Francesca Ferrari, former Mellon-Marron Research Consortium Fellow, Department of Painting and Sculpture, The Museum of Modern Art. On the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the artist’s death, MoMA’s exhibition is included in the international Picasso Celebration 1973–2023, with the exceptional support of the Musée National Picasso-Paris.
“Picasso’s decision to paint, virtually simultaneously, the startlingly different-looking Three Musicians and Three Women at the Spring (which are both in MoMA’s collection) in Fontainebleau during the summer of 1921 continues to disrupt expectations of artistic evolution and stylistic consistency,” said Umland. “This exhibition extends the Museum’s commitment to exploring new ways of seeing, thinking about, and interpreting iconic works from the collection.”
Organized chronologically, Picasso in Fontainebleau will begin with a prelude to the artist ́s three months at Fontainebleau. Pre–World War I Cubist works exhibited in Paris during early 1921 will be on view in the first gallery, accompanied by a selection of Picasso’s designs for the Ballets Russes and related print projects. As the exhibition transitions into Picasso’s time in the town of Fontainebleau, his diary-like line drawings of the interior and exterior of his rented villa, at 33 boulevard Gambetta (now 33 boulevard du Général Leclerc) in Fontainebleau, will be presented, along with documents from the artist’s archives and some 30 photographs, many of which will be exhibited for the first time.
The final gallery of Picasso in Fontainebleau will bring together many of Picasso’s Fontainebleau works for the first time, including both versions of Three Musicians and Three Women at the Spring and five large, pastel head drawings closely related to Three Women at the Spring. Echoing Picasso’s Fontainebleau studio, the exhibition will install the Philadelphia Museum of Art’s Three Musicians and MoMA’s Three Women at the Spring side by side for the first time since 1921. These two seemingly opposite paintings—Cubist and classical in style—which were painted roughly at the same time, will emphasize the interconnectedness of Picasso’s process and practice that resulted in a varied body of work across mediums, models, and visual idioms.
Picasso in Fontainebleau will be accompanied by a richly illustrated catalogue that will comprise 15 short essays co-authored by curators and conservators. Focused on groups of closely related works featured in the exhibition, the catalogue will combine formal and historical analysis with conservators’ insights into materials, structures, and processes.
Leadership support for the exhibition is provided by the Eyal and Marilyn Ofer Family Foundation.
Major funding is provided by the Kate W. Cassidy Foundation, Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III, The International Council of The Museum of Modern Art, and by Monique M. Schoen Warshaw.
This exhibition is supported by an indemnity from the Federal Council on the Arts and the Humanities.
Generous funding for the publication is provided by Ronald S. and Jo Carole Lauder through The International Council of The Museum of Modern Art. Additional funding is provided
by The Morton Neumann Family Foundation.
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