Posts Tagged 'Pablo Picasso'

Savor the Arts: A Kitchen Adventure

This Friday, cookbook author and professor of comparative literature Dr. Mary Ann Caws will be here to discuss her book The Modern Art Cookbook during our Savor the Arts Late Night event.

The-Modern-Art-Cookbook-by-Mary-Ann-Caws1

The Modern Art Cookbook is equal parts art historic document and recipe guide, illuminating the relationship between art and food. In preparation for this event, the DMA’s programming team decided to try some recipes from the book to see what they were like (and to test their kitchen skills).

Betsy Glickman, Manager of Adult Programming:
I have always been a fan of the “breakfast for dinner” concept, so I opted to tackle an egg-based dish from the book. Armed with a minimal set of ingredients—and an even more minimal set of cooking skills—I set aside an evening to bring Pablo Picasso’s Spanish Omelette to life in my kitchen. I originally thought the dish would resemble a traditional, half-plate-sized omelette, but as I laid out the ingredients (10 eggs, 4 potatoes, 2 onions, etc.), I realized this was going to be much larger.

Betsy_1

I began by peeling and slicing the potatoes and onions. I then tossed them into a large pan and sautéed them for about 15 minutes. While they were cooking, I beat the eggs in a large mixing bowl.

Once the potatoes and onions were beginning to brown, I drained them on some paper towels to help absorb the excess moisture. I then added them to the salad bowl along with a large helping of salt and pepper.

Next it was time to make the omelette. I pulled out the best nonstick pan I own, added some olive oil and medium heat, and poured in the contents to cook for several minutes.

Betsy_2

As the edges began to firm up, I realized the hardest part of the process was yet to come: I somehow had to flip this thing over. I snagged a plate for assistance, and, in a swift movement, transferred most of the contents to the plate and back into the pan. All in all, I’d give my flip an 8 out of 10.

Betsy_3

I cooked the omelette for another 2-3 minutes. The book instructed to leave the center a little runny, but, unfortunately, I overcooked it a bit. Even so, the end result was quite tasty. Viva el Spanish Omelette!

Betsy_4

Things I learned: It’s difficult to ruin an omelette, but there are endless ways to make it better. In the future, I may try adding tomatoes, peppers, and/or salsa to this recipe.

Stacey Lizotte, Head of Adult Programming and Multimedia Services:
I decided to make Brecht’s Favorite Potato Bread because I have always been interested in mastering a bread recipe (yeast and rising dough have always been a bit of a mystery to me). This recipe called for one cube of yeast, which I should have researched before picking this recipe. I tried finding a conversion from cubed yeast to dry yeast and was not successful, so I went with one packet of dried yeast for the recipe. Because dry yeast needs to be activated with water, I reduced the amount of oil recommended.

Stacey's Ingredients

Even with that reduction, my dough was very wet. After adding an additional cup of flour it was still not the texture I thought it should be. But having little experience with bread, and thinking that the mashed potatoes probably added moisture, I thought maybe that was how it was supposed to be.

While the dough did rise, as you can see from the photos the dough did not hold its shape once formed into “loafs.”

Stacey's Recipe 4

While the look of the bread left much to be desired, I found the flavor interesting, which I attribute to the lemon zest.

Things I learned: Yeast used to come in cubes. I will add lemon zest to any future bread dough recipes I try.

Liz Menz, Manager of Adult Programming:
The last time we all got together for a cooking blog, I went with soup, so this time I ventured into the realm of desserts. I decided to make Claude Monet’s Almond Cookies. The recipe is much like a shortbread recipe, so there were very few wet ingredients and (something I discovered halfway through) the dough required kneading.

photo 3

Combining the flour, confectioner’s sugar, ground almonds and lemon rind into a bowl with the eggs was the easy part. Realizing that the cubed butter was still needed, I figured out that my wooden spoon was not going to cut it, so kneading was the way to go!

photo 1

After some work (and one phone call to my mother), I realized I was doing this right, as the dough finally came together. It was on to rolling out the dough and cutting the cookies! I am a less-than-prepared baker and discovered that, in a pinch, a wine bottle doubles well as a rolling pin and wine glasses are the perfect size for cutting!

photo 4

After I sprinkled the cut cookies with sugar and sliced almonds, they went into the oven for about 20-25 minutes. They came out golden and yummy! The lemon rind really gave them a great flavor, and I decided that these cookies would be great with a cup of coffee and a book.

photo 2

Things I learned: Shortbread-type recipes are harder than they look, but worth it. Lemon rind is a great addition to cookies. Also, thanks Mom.

Don’t forget to join us on Friday as we savor the arts! And, for more fun food-inspired posts, peruse the Culinary Canvas section of our Canvas Blog.


Betsy Glickman is a manager of adult programming at the DMA.
Stacey Lizotte is head of adult programming and multimedia services at the DMA.
Liz Menz is a manager of adult programming at the DMA.

Run the DMA Marathon

It’s that time of year again, and the excitement of the Dallas PCS Marathon has arrived! Last year, the marathon races drew over 15,700 runners and 300,000 spectators. It’s expected to be bigger than ever this year, and the city of Dallas is pulling out all the stops. The Dallas Museum of Art is joining the city in welcoming runners and their friends, families, and fans alike!

As both a McDermott intern in the education department and a runner, I had the pleasure (and pain!) of gaining my Museum feet during the height of my training for the marathon. As I learned to navigate through the galleries, I discovered that the DMA has many things in common with a marathon: it’s huge, it’s inspirational, and there are lots of friendly staff members to support you along your journey. Therefore, I am thrilled to combine two of my passions–running and museums–in inviting you to embark on your very own DMA Marathon. I’ve highlighted some of my favorite artworks throughout the DMA’s galleries, hand-picked to motivate, inspire, and refuel you. So, what are you waiting for? Lace up your running shoes, and get ready to explore!

Registration: DMA Atrium
The DMA has free general admission (every day!), so you don’t need to pull out your wallet for this race. But please do hit up the Visitor Services Desk to sign up for the DMA Friends program. With your shiny new DMA Friends membership, you’ll be able to check in at various locations in the Museum and earn points toward exciting DMA rewards such as free parking, sneak peeks at new exhibitions, and exclusive Museum experiences. The Atrium is also a great place to grab a pre-race bite in the DMA Cafe, use the line-free bathrooms, and get in your stretches in front of Robert Rauschenberg’s breathtaking Skyway or Rufino Tamayo’s iconic painting El Hombre (Man).

Robert Rauschenberg, Skyway, 1964, oil and silkscreen on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, The Roberta Coke Camp Fund, The 500, Inc., Mr. and Mrs. Mark Shepherd, Jr. and General Acquisitions Fund

Robert Rauschenberg, Skyway, 1964, oil and silkscreen on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, The Roberta Coke Camp Fund, The 500, Inc., Mr. and Mrs. Mark Shepherd, Jr. and General Acquisitions Fund, (c) Rauschenberg Estate/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY

Rufino Tamayo, El Hombre (Man), 1953, vinyl with pigment on panel, Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas Art Association commission, Neiman-Marcus Company Exposition Funds

Rufino Tamayo, El Hombre (Man), 1953, vinyl with pigment on panel, Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas Art Association commission, Neiman-Marcus Company Exposition Funds, (c) Estate of the artist in support of Fundacion Olga y Rufino Tamayo, A.C.

Resist Temptation and Find Your Pace: Level 4: Ancient American Art and American Art
The starting gun goes off and you head up the stairs to Level 4, where you will come face to face with Tlaloc, the DMA’s rain god. But no need to worry about rain inside the Museum, Tlaloc was also a war god and will send you off with blessings of stamina and power!

Head of the rain god Tlaloc, Mixtec, Late Postclassic period, c. 1300-1500, ceramic, tufa, stucco, and paint, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Mr. and Mrs. Stanley Marcus in memory of Mary Freiberg

Head of the rain god Tlaloc, Mixtec, Late Postclassic period, c. 1300-1500, ceramic, tufa, stucco, and paint, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Mr. and Mrs. Stanley Marcus in memory of Mary Freiberg

As you make your way by Crawford Riddle’s bedstead, deemed “The Big Bed” by our younger visitors, try not to be distracted with thoughts of putting your feet up so early in the race. You’ve worked hard to prepare for this moment, and this bed should serve as a reminder that some well-deserved relaxation awaits you at the end of this journey!

Crawford Riddell, Bed, c. 1844, Brazilian rosewood, tulip poplar, and yellow pine, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of three anonymous donors, Friends of the Decorative Arts Fund, General Acquisitions Fund, Discretionary Decorative Arts Fund, and the Boshell Family Foundation

Bedstead, Crawford Riddell, c. 1844, Brazilian rosewood, tulip poplar, and yellow pine, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of three anonymous donors, Friends of the Decorative Arts Fund, General Acquisitions Fund, Discretionary Decorative Arts Fund, and the Boshell Family Foundation

Also, I know how easy it is to let the excitement of the race throw off your timing. Gerald Murphy’s Watch is a great reminder to check your pace and adjust your gallery viewing speed if necessary.

Gerald Murphy, Watch, 1925, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, Foundation for the Arts Collection, gift of the artist

Gerald Murphy, Watch, 1925, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, Foundation for the Arts Collection, gift of the artist, (c) Estate of Honoria Murphy Donnelly

Dodge Obstacles and Find Inspiration: Level 3: Arts of Africa, Asia, and the Pacific, The Wendy and Emery Reves Collection
Head down the stairs to Level 3, where you will come face to face with sculptures, jewelry, and artifacts from Africa, Asia, and the Pacific. You may want to pick up the pace when you spot the coffin of Horankh in the Ancient Egyptian gallery. We have several Egyptian coffins (including one with an actual mummy inside!), and although they are beautiful, they are rumored to look a little too alive at times!

Coffin of Horankh, Late Period, c. 700 B.C., Thebes, Egypt, wood, gesso, paint, obsidian, calcite, and bronze, Dallas Museum of Art, the Cecil and Ida Green Acquisition Fund

Coffin of Horankh, Egypt, Thebes, Late Period, c. 700 B.C., wood, gesso, paint, obsidian, calcite, and bronze, Dallas Museum of Art, the Cecil and Ida Green Acquisition Fund

Before you leave the third floor, loop around to the Wendy and Emery Reves Collection for some inspiration. Vincent van Gogh’s Sheaves of Wheat is a breathtaking sight that should not be missed!

Vincent van Gogh, Sheaves of Wheat, July 1890, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, The Wendy and Emery Reves Collection

Vincent van Gogh, Sheaves of Wheat, July 1890, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, The Wendy and Emery Reves Collection

Beat “The Wall”: Level 2: Ancient Mediterranean and European Art
Trot down the stairs to Level 2, where you will glide between athletic bodies featured in the Greek and Roman statues, busts, and antiquities. Pat yourself on the back; after this race, you will be able to rank yourself among these talented athletes!
At this point in the race, it is common to hit “the wall,” and you may be starting to feel like the characters in Fernand Leger’s Divers or Picasso’s Guitarist in the European galleries, but keep going–you’re almost to the end!

Fernand Léger, The Divers (Red and Black), 1942, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, Foundation for the Arts Collection, gift of the James H. and Lillian Clark Foundation

Fernand Léger, The Divers (Red and Black), 1942, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, Foundation for the Arts Collection, gift of the James H. and Lillian Clark Foundation, (c) Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/ADAGP, Paris

Pablo Picasso, The Guitarist, 1965, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, The Art Museum League Fund

Pablo Picasso, The Guitarist, 1965, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, The Art Museum League Fund, (c) Estate of Pablo Picasso/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

The Light at the End of the Tunnel: Level 1: Contemporary Art
Your heart is pounding as you head into the final stretch of the marathon. Your final leg will take you back up the Museum Concourse to the finish line in the contemporary art galleries. You can hardly believe your eyes when you catch a glimpse of Mark Rothko’s Orange, Red and Red and wonder if you are seeing a mirage. But it is real, and the finish line is surrounded by gorgeous contemporary works. Take in the sights as you relish this moment–you did it!

Mark Rothko, Orange, Red and Red, 1962, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Mr. and Mrs. Algur H. Meadows and the Meadows Foundation, Incorporated

Mark Rothko, Orange, Red and Red, 1962, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Mr. and Mrs. Algur H. Meadows and the Meadows Foundation, Incorporated, (c) 1998 Kate Rothko Prizel & Christopher Rothko/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

It’s been my pleasure to take you along on the DMA Marathon. We hope that you are able to join us during marathon weekend and experience the Museum firsthand! Best of luck to all of my fellow runners; see you at the finish line!

Amelia Wood is the McDermott intern for family & access teaching at the DMA.

Museum Mustaches for Movember

It’s that time of year—the leaves are starting to change colors, the weather is getting cooler, and men everywhere are starting to grow mustaches.

We are getting close to the halfway point of the monthlong event of Movember, in which men give their razors a break to raise awareness of men’s health issues, such as prostate cancer.

In honor of this great month, and because I am a woman and cannot grow a ‘stache, I’ve included images of my favorite mustachioed men currently on view at the Dallas Museum of Art.

Rafael Ximeno y Planes, The Silversmith Jose Maria Rodallega, c. 1795, oil on canvas, Lent by Felipe Siegel, Anna and Andres Siegel

Rafael Ximeno y Planes, The Silversmith Jose Maria Rodallega, c. 1795, oil on canvas, Lent by Felipe Siegel, Anna and Andres Siegel

Jose Maria Rodallega, one of Mexico’s most famous silversmiths, is sporting first-week-of-Movember stubble in the Spanish Colonial Gallery on Level 4.

Jerry Bywaters, Share Cropper, 1937, oil on Masonite, Dallas Museum of Art, Allied Arts Civic Prize, Eighth Annual Dallas Allied Arts Exhibition, 1937

Jerry Bywaters, Share Cropper, 1937, oil on Masonite, Dallas Museum of Art, Allied Arts Civic Prize, Eighth Annual Dallas Allied Arts Exhibition, 1937

Also on Level 4 is Jerry Bywaters’ Share Cropper, who is sporting a patchy week 2 mustache, but don’t tell him I said that.

Pablo Picasso, The Guitarist, 1965, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, The Art Museum League Fund

Pablo Picasso, The Guitarist, 1965, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, The Art Museum League Fund

Is there a mustache in Pablo Picasso’s The Guitarist? Check out this crazy cubist painting on Level 2 and decide for yourself.

Virabhadra, Karnataka or Kerala, India, 16th–17th century, stone, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Alvin and David T. Owsley via the Alvin and Lucy Owsley Foundation in memory of Colonel Alvin M. Owsley, with the assistance of the Wendover Fund

Virabhadra, Karnataka or Kerala, India, 16th–17th century, stone, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Alvin and David T. Owsley via the Alvin and Lucy Owsley Foundation in memory of Colonel Alvin M. Owsley, with the assistance of the Wendover Fund

The Hindu god Shiva is seen on Level 3 in a warlike form as Virabhadra. He has a perfectly groomed mustache fit for a god, and he gets bonus points for the super cool hat.

Charles Webster Hawthorne, The Fish and the Man, 1925, oil on canvas affixed to composition board, Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas Art Association Purchase

Charles Webster Hawthorne, The Fish and the Man, 1925, oil on canvas affixed to composition board, Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas Art Association Purchase

Check out this epic mustache found on Level 4! Maybe by the end of Movember, many men will have a mustache as amazing as this Cape Cod fisherman’s.

Frida Kahlo, Itzicuintli Dog with Me, c. 1938, oil on canvas, Lent by Private Collection

Frida Kahlo, Itzicuintli Dog with Me, c. 1938, oil on canvas, Lent by Private Collection

Oh, Frida. You are the only woman I know who can rock a mustache! You go girl!

You can learn more about Movember and how to donate to men’s health programs by visiting the Movember Foundation’s website.

Madeleine Fitzgerald is the McDermott Education Intern for adult programming and Arts & Letters Live at the DMA.

A Dot That Went for a Walk

Once again, the Works on Paper Gallery on the Museum’s second level is being reinstalled. Fourteen drawings, lithographs, etchings, and engravings by some of the 20th century’s greatest artists—Henri Matisse, Alberto Giacometti, Pablo Picasso, and many more—will adorn the gray walls.

The new installation, titled Linear Possibilities in Modern European Prints, didn’t come together overnight. I’ve been working on it for the last six months, and I am now very excited (even a bit nervous) to present it to the Museum’s public. The idea came to me after looking many times through the Museum’s collection of European works on paper, which includes over 2,000 prints, drawings, and photographs dating from the late 1400s to the 1980s.

Henri Matisse, Loulou, 1914, etching, Dallas Museum of Art, Foundation for the Arts Collection, gift of the Wendover Fund

Henri Matisse, Loulou, 1914, etching, Dallas Museum of Art, Foundation for the Arts Collection, gift of the Wendover Fund, © 2013 Succession H. Matisse / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

I had to work with a few limiting factors before finding my final concept. The three walls of the gallery can only accommodate a certain number of works comfortably, so I had to keep the number within a range of eight to fourteen works. Also, works on paper are very sensitive to natural light. The longer a work is on view, the more damage that occurs, causing the paper to darken and certain media to fade. Therefore, I couldn’t use any work that had recently been on view. I found a few possibilities based on particular themes or artistic movements before choosing to investigate lines, one of art’s most basic elements.

Alberto Giacometti, Annette in the Studio, 1954, lithograph, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Mr. and Mrs. Alfred L. Bromberg

Alberto Giacometti, Annette in the Studio, 1954, lithograph, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Mr. and Mrs. Alfred L. Bromberg, © 2013 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris

The idea was influenced by a great quote from the Swiss artist Paul Klee: “A line is a dot that went for a walk.” Lines appear in many types and sizes: vertical, horizontal, zigzagged, curvy, squiggly, thick, thin, long, short. When combined, lines reveal spaces or forms and allude to volume or mass. They can possess emotive qualities as well as imply movement.

Paul Klee, Hoffmanesque Scene (Hoffmaneske Szene), 1921, color lithograph, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Stuart Gordon Johnson by exchange; General Acquisitions Fund; and The Patsy Lacy Griffith Collection, gift of Patsy Lacy Griffith by exchange

Paul Klee, Hoffmanesque Scene, 1921, color lithograph, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Stuart Gordon Johnson by exchange; General Acquisitions Fund; and The Patsy Lacy Griffith Collection, gift of Patsy Lacy Griffith by exchange, (c) Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn

Pablo Picasso, Three Standing Nudes, at Right, Sketches of Heads (Trois nus debout, à droite esquisses de têtes), 1927, etching, Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas Art Association Purchase

Pablo Picasso, Three Standing Nudes (left) and Sketches of Heads (right), 1927, etching, Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas Art Association Purchase, © 2013 Estate of Pablo Picasso / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

The works in the installation demonstrate how painters and sculptors of the European avant-garde turned to drawing and printmaking in a new manner, creating with nothing but lines. They explored the possibilities of rhythmic or abstracted sequences of delicate, robust, and expressive lines in their compositions of a nude, an artist’s studio, or more abstracted scenes. There is an astonishing beauty to be found in these prints and drawings by Matisse, Giacometti, Picasso, and others. I encourage you to visit the Dallas Museum of Art (general admission is free!) to see these amazing and innovative works.

Linear Possibilities in Modern European Prints goes on view in the European Art Galleries on Level 2 Sunday, March 17.

Hannah Fullgraf is the McDermott Graduate Curatorial Intern in European Art at the DMA.

Picasso and African Art

Our Picasso masterwork Bust is normally considered in the context of early 20th-century modernism. Its home is in the European galleries alongside the works of Picasso’s cohorts like Matisse, Braque, and Léger; however, a recent installation in our European Galleries offers up a new reading of the painting—that it has footings not only in European modernism but also in African art.

Picasso is known to have been captivated by African art. He frequented the Trocadéro, Paris’s famed ethnographic museum, to study its holdings. He was also an avid collector of African objects and amassed over one hundred statuettes, textiles, and masks, all of which he stored in his studio.

Picasso in his studio at the Bateau-Lavoir, Paris, 1908, Musée Picasso, Paris,
Photo Credit: Réunion des Musées Nationaux

Although these so-called “primitive arts” held little monetary value—most were seen as mere trinkets and lined the shelves of curio shops, flea markets, and bistro tablescapes—their alien forms and dramatic abstractions were invaluable inspirations for Picasso. He carefully studied African works, mimicked them, and even openly copied them. He found them to be complex, conceptually sophisticated, and emotionally charged because their abstractions expressed the “unseen” and “unuterrable” in visual and quantifiable terms. Throughout his career, Picasso struggled with trying to represent the unknown or unrepresentable, and African abstract forms gave him a clear visual language to express what he couldn’t before.

In the case of our painting Bust, he appears to have lifted the entire compositional makeup of a kifwebe mask and translated it into a two-dimensional painted form:

Pablo Picasso, “Bust,” 1907-08, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, Foundation for the Arts Collection, gift of Joshua L. Logan, Loula D. Lasker, Ruth and Nathan Cummings Art Foundation, Mr. and Mrs. Edward S. Marcus, Sarah Dorsey Hudson, Mrs. Alfred L. Bromberg, Henry Jacobus and an anonymous donor, by exchange, 1987.399.FA, © Estate of Pablo Picasso / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Democratic Republic of the Congo, Songye or Luba Peoples, Helmet mask (“kifwebe”) and costume, late 19th to early 20th century, wood, paint, fiber, cane, and gut, Dallas Museum of Art, The Gustave and Franyo Schindler Collection of African Sculpture, gift of the McDermott Foundation in honor of Eugene McDermott, 1974.Sc.42

The stylistic resonances between the two works are truly striking. Both have the same facial configuration—a convex forehead contrasted by a concave facial plane—and the same facial features, from the almond-shaped downcast eyes, to the broad band bisecting the foreheads, to the fine-lined surface relief.

Through painting a female subject in the likeness of an abstract kifwebe mask, Picasso saw himself as able to visually articulate the invisible aspects of her nature—a feat not possible through a mere depiction of a human form. Moreover, he saw this abstract representation as a “real” representation of a person; for him, reality was something beyond our eyes, so representing someone’s internalized and invisible nature meant he was representing who someone really is. Through abstraction, Picasso was able to make the female figure’s spirit not only visible but real, living, and tangible; through African art, Picasso was able to eclipse old modes of representation and was, in his words, “freed.”


Andrew Sears is the McDermott Curatorial Intern for European and American Art at the Dallas Museum of Art.


Two for the Road

Uncrated recently took a “field trip” to Fort Worth to visit the Kimbell Art Museum’s  presentation of Picasso and Braque: The Cubist Experiment, 1910–1912, for which the DMA loaned its 1912 Braque painting Still Life with Bottles and Glasses. Before the exhibition opened, the Kimbell’s director of conservation, Claire Barry, took a look at our “gem of a painting” and offered us this guest post on the experience.

Georges Braque, "Still Life with Bottles and Glasses", 1912, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, The Eugene and Margaret McDermott Art Fund, Inc., given in honor of Deedie Rose and J. E. R. Chilton

X-ray of George Braque's "Still Life with Bottles and Glasses"

I was delighted to have the opportunity to examine Braque’s Still Life with Bottles and Glasses from the DMA in the Kimbell conservation studio. Fortunately, this gem of a painting is unlined, which is rare for a cubist painting from this period. As a result, the impastoed (thickly textured) surface has never been flattened through lining. As one of my teachers wisely advised, think about a painting as a sculpture in low relief. If you look at the Braque in this way, you quickly begin to appreciate the rich variety in the artist’s application of paint—from thin areas where the paint is more fluid to thicker areas of impasto where he applied paint with a heavily loaded brush. Then, in the upper left, you might notice that the paint has a crusty texture that seems totally unrelated to the composition. With the permission of the DMA curators, I x-rayed the painting, which quickly revealed that Braque completely reworked the composition of Still Life with Bottles and Glasses during the course of painting. The texture of the underlying paint layers, later covered over, can still be seen on the surface. I was fascinated to discover this, because between Picasso and Braque, I always believed that Picasso had a greater tendency to radically rework his paintings (as he did with the Kimbell’s Man with a Pipe). Braque painted the Kimbell’s Girl with a Cross without making a single revision.

Pablo Picasso, Man with a Pipe, 1911, oil on canvas, Kimbell Art Museum. Photo © MegaVision. © 2011 Estate of Pablo Picasso / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Georges Braque, Girl with a Cross, 1911, oil on canvas, Kimbell Art Museum. Photo © MegaVision. © 2011 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris

I was fortunate to be able to examine the two Braques, the DMA’s and the Kimbell’s, side by side in the conservation studio. Like the DMA painting, the Kimbell’s Girl with a Cross is unlined and preserved in pristine condition. In fact, it has never been varnished and retains the matte surface that the cubists intended. Both Picasso and Braque were adamant that their paintings should never be varnished. The DMA’s Braque, however, had been varnished at some point, and the varnish layer imparted a glossier surface than Braque had in mind. The unifying effect of the varnish also masked the subtle differences in surface gloss and texture that Braque created. In preparation for the exhibition, the DMA gave me permission to remove the varnish layer from Still Life with Bottles and Glasses. The fact that visitors to the exhibition can now see two unlined, unvarnished cubist paintings by Braque is really something exceptional. When you see the surfaces of these paintings, you can feel confident that this is very close to how they appeared when they left Braque’s easel some one hundred years ago.

Braque’s Still Life with Bottles and Glasses (1912) was sent to the Kimbell for spectral-image photography during the early stages of planning the exhibition Picasso and Braque: The Cubist Experiment, 1910–1912. These photographs are among the many incredible high-resolution digital images that can be explored with the iPad application iCubist in the Kimbell exhibition. If you want to experience the details in cubist paintings, brushstroke for brushstroke (the way I examine paintings in my job as a paintings conservator), I really recommend that you check out the iPads at the Kimbell. To my knowledge, this is the first time such images have been made available to the public in such an interactive way in a museum exhibition. The goal is to enrich the experience of seeing the real paintings, for which there is absolutely no substitute. My hope is that the iPad application may encourage visitors to spend even more time in the exhibition. Unlike the Acoustiguide, you cannot look at a painting and the iPad app simultaneously. So perhaps this will encourage visitors to look at the paintings first, then explore the iPad, and then return to the paintings for a second look, with greater understanding and appreciation.

Guest blogger Claire Barry is the director of conservation at the Kimbell Art Museum.


Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 223 other followers

Twitter Updates

Flickr Photo Stream

Backstage at the Indonesian Celebration

We're ready for an Indonesian Celebration!

More Photos

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 223 other followers