Do you want to see the start of an artistic movement that changed modern art in the 20th century? Then step right into The Dali in St. Petersburg to experience the new exhibit, Picasso and the Allure of the South, where you’ll walk through the history and life of one of the most influential artists of the last century, Pablo Picasso.
Picasso and the Allure of the South features 79 works of art including paintings, drawings and collages. Each was created during “the most productive and creative periods” of Picasso’s life…times when he was on a retreat so to speak, to the Mediterranean regions of southern France and northern Spain.
“You will see the names of these towns on the floor as kind of a map, so as you move through the exhibit, you will essentially travel through this zone, the mountains and see and feel together from the floor up and into the art and back into your eyes and heart this energy—that’s our goal and we’re really excited to have you experience it,” said Hank Hine, executive director of The Dal.
What’s most exciting is that many of these pieces–about half–have never been on display in the United States.
Picasso and the Allure of the South is currently on display at The Dali in St. Petersburg through May 22, 2022. Read on for more details about this fantastic exhibit.
About the Artwork
The works you’ll find inside Picasso and the Allure of the South span decades from 1909 to 1972. The pieces are on loan form the Musee national Picasso-Paris and the Leonard A. Lauder Cubist Collection in New York.
Along with the art, you’ll also see historical photos showing Picasso in his studios, so don’t move by the photo displays too quickly.
Through Picasso’s works on display, the exhibit illustrates the birth of Cubism, the transition to Synthetic Cubism (where Picasso began exploring collage), and Picasso’s evolution into Realism and Surrealism.
As you continue your tour, you’ll also encounter a painting that seems so unlike the works that immediately come to mind when you hear the name Picasso.
World War I changed the art world and “Portrait de Madame Rosenberg et sa fille” (1918) illustrates how. This is the first time this piece has been on display in the United States.
“There was suddenly great suspicion about anything Avant Garde—it was thought in France that anything Avant Garde was associated with Germanic thought regardless of who created the Avant-Garde ideas—anything that was new or radical was thought of as being part of the problem and it was a return to classicism and that is exactly what we have here—a very Neoclassical style. You can see this kind of facility he has and ability to pivot,” explained Peter Tush, Senior Curator Education at The Dali.
How to Experience ‘Picasso and the Allure of the South’
We highly recommend downloading The Dali’s app because it’s here you can access the free audio tour. The app is a must to experience the entire Dali museum, so you’ll be glad to have it preloaded on your phone when you arrive. We promise.
Also, keep in mind that you will need an advanced reserved timed ticket to experience the Picasso exhibit, so it’ll take some planning ahead. Tickets are $29 for adults. There are discounts for seniors, students, and museum members. Face masks are also required when indoors.
The exhibit is organized in four parts:
- The Birth of Cubism
- From Cubism to Realism
- Corridas de Sud (bullfighting)
- Surrealism and Beyond
Hank Hine explains, “First it’s The Birth of Cubism and how these towns gave rise—perhaps the steeples of their churches, the regular white on white buildings, something prompted this move toward the geometry of Cubism.
Then you will see how Picasso went From Cubism to Realism and how this time in his life he started celebrating—perhaps it was the landscape, perhaps it was the people, he started celebrating the classical impulses that were still there in the Mediterranean that were remnant from the old Latin cultures.
Then you will see the infatuation with The Bullfight (Corridas de Sud). This was a lifelong obsession. It meant something completely different to Picasso then it might mean today. Bull fighting represented the age-old culture, at least the age-old forces for Picasso.
And finally, you will see Surrealism enter into Picasso’s vocabulary and he filtered the world through his own subconscious at this point and created new forms and these are some of the most indelibly amazing paintings.”
Don’t step out of “Picasso and the Allure of the South” before experiencing one last thing…YOUR PORTRAIT. Notice how AI is in bold? This is intentional because you’ll take a seat and watch as your own portrait is transformed into a Cubist piece of art using artificial intelligence.
As the features of your face are moved and transformed, the experience explains why and how this being done so you can learn more about how Cubist art was created. In the end, you can text or email your portrait to yourself. And the coolest part is, each time you do it…the result is different!
Special Events and More
There will be special events planned around the Picasso exhibit at The Dali with wine tastings, lectures and more. You can visit thedali.org to stay up to date. If there is an event that piques your interest, you’ll want to book as soon as possible because events like the wine tastings sell out fast.
Just like with the Van Goh Alive exhibit, the café will feature menu items inspired by the exhibit and the gift shop will have plenty of prints and more so you can bring a piece of your experience home with you.
We couldn’t leave home without a print of ‘Homme au chapeau de paille et au cornet de glace” (Man with a Straw Hat and and Ice Cream Cone) painted in 1938.
Tush tells us it was inspired by Van Gogh’s famous self-portrait, but Picasso put his own spin on this Surrealist piece featuring a grotesque creature doing something quite common. Eating an ice-cream cone.
If you’re debating whether to see this exhibit, you should. As Tush points out, it is important to expose ourselves to art, “It helps create a mature and create a well-rounded understanding of the world. I think without art, half of your brain is not being challenged or utilized, so it’s really important component to balance out the obsession with science and math –that’s part of what Dali shows us and part of what Picasso also really brings forward.”
All images by Laura Byrne