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Nasher Museum of Art at Duke to Present "Picasso and the Allure of Language"
Pablo Picasso, letter to Leo and Gertrude Stein (verso), Paris, August 17, 1906. Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas Papers, Yale Collection of American Literature, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University. © 2008 Estate of Gertrude Stein. Used with permission of Estate of Gertrude Stein. © 2008 Estate of Pablo Picasso/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.

DURHAM, NC.- Pablo Picasso’s lifelong relationship with writers and the ways language affected his work is the focus of an exhibition coming to the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University.

“Picasso and the Allure of Language” includes 60 works created by Picasso between 1900 and 1969, four years before his death at age 91. The Nasher Museum is the only traveling venue for the exhibition, which will be on view at the museum on Duke’s campus from Aug. 20 through Jan 3, 2010.

The exhibition focuses on Picasso’s life after moving from his native Spain to the bohemian Montmartre section of Paris in 1904. There, he formed friendships with important French writers and poets, including Max Jacob, Pierre Reverdy and Guillaume Apollinaire. In 1905, Picasso met Gertrude Stein, the expatriate American writer who, guided in art collecting by her brother Leo, became the artist’s principal patron in Paris until 1914. Works made by Picasso for the Steins are included in the exhibitition.

The exhibition also includes works by fellow artist Georges Braque and photographs, letters, manuscripts and book projects by a diverse group of artists and writers. The exhibition will be complemented by “Africa and Picasso,” a small exhibition inspired by Picasso’s own collection of African art.

“‘Picasso and the Allure of Language’ focuses on Picasso’s deep and interdisciplinary interest in writing and language, and reveals new insights about this famous, well-studied artist,” said Kimerly Rorschach, the James H. and Mary D.B.T. Semans Director of the Nasher Museum. “We can learn a lot from the intellectual and artistic exchanges between Picasso and some of the greatest thinkers of his day.”

The exhibition will be complemented by programs at the Nasher Museum, including a free family day event, poetry night, panel discussions, film series, teacher workshops and other programs. The Carolina Ballet will present a newly choreographed ballet, “Picasso,” inspired by the exhibition.

The accompanying “Africa and Picasso” installation was inspired by Picasso’s own collection of more than 100 African figures, masks and musical instruments. The exhibition includes African objects from the Nasher Museum’s permanent collection that are similar in type and origin as those collected by Picasso, and examines Picasso’s practice of collecting African art from artistic, social and political viewpoints. It will be on view from Aug. 20 through Jan. 10, 2010.

“Picasso and the Allure of Language” was organized by the Yale University Art Gallery, and curated by Susan Greenberg Fisher, the Horace W. Goldsmith Associate Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at the Yale University Art Gallery, with support from the Nasher Museum. The exhibition is drawn from the collections of the Yale University Art Gallery and Yale University’s Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, and the Raymond and Patsy Nasher Collection in Dallas.

Nasher Museum of Art | Duke University | Pablo Picasso | Gertrude Stein | Max Jacob | Pierre Reverdy | Guillaume Apollinaire |

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