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Visual Arts

Pic up

A limited-time exhibit in Norman grants a rare look at works by Pablo Picasso.

Susannah Waite August 1st, 2012

Picasso exhibition
opening 7 p.m. Friday
Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art
555 Elm, Norman

A rare opportunity to view works by the legendary Pablo Picasso begins Friday at the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art in Norman. The small exhibit centers on the Spanish artist’s painting Woman in the Studio, a 1956 work on loan for a year from the Saint Louis Art Museum.

The exhibit includes eight other works, from the FJJMA’s permanent collection, by the Cubism pioneer.

“We don’t have any major works by Picasso, but we have several important prints, as well as a ceramic piece by Picasso that actually helped to inform the time period around which he created this particular painting,” said Mark White, chief curator.

The museum acquired many of its Picasso pieces in the 1960s and 1970s, collected as purchases and gifts.

“The works themselves haven’t really been out all that much, at least not recently,” White said. “This was really a great opportunity for us to bring out works that are at least important in the context of the collection, but just haven’t been seen in a while.”

Since the prints are on paper and, therefore, susceptible to light damage, they cannot be displayed often.

“This really creates an opportunity for people to see works that once they go off view, probably won’t come back out for a while,” he said.

Visitors will be able to see pieces from a more mature phase of Picasso’s art, a period often ignored by many exhibits on the 20th-century master.

“A lot of what we do tends to focus on Picasso in his early career, but he remained an important and vital artist for his entire life,” White said. “He is one of the few artists you can say that about, and I think [Woman in the Studio] gives you an opportunity to see what he was concerned with at that time period.”

The piece depicts a model posed next to a painting of a landscape.

“It’s very much about the artistic process: being in the studio, what types of subjects one tends toward,” he said. “It’s very much an exhibit about Picasso acknowledging his role as one of the foremost artists of the 20th century and his place within that tradition.”

The exhibit opens with a gallery talk by White at 7 p.m. Friday. A closing date has not yet been set.

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