Art, Family Fun, Museums, New York

MoMA’s Must See Picasso Sculpture Closes Soon

January 3, 2016

In just over a month’s time, one of the most extensive and engaging exhibitions of Pablo Picasso’s sculpture ever presented in the United States will close. If you haven’t already visited the Museum of Modern Art’s marvelous retrospective of the painter’s rarely seen works, get your tickets and go see it before it closes on Feb. 7, 2016.


A visitor examines Picasso’s Man With A Lamb (1943).

For the first time since 1967, New York’s MoMA presents one of the largest exhibitions of the painter’s three-dimensional work. The exhibit includes more than 100 sculptures plus photographs and works on paper, many never before displayed in North America. I was fortunate to see the exhibition during the Member Preview before it opened to the public in September.


Left foreground, Woman with Child (1961), center rear, Head of a Woman (1957), right, Chair (1961). All three of these sculptures are painted sheet metal.

While Picasso was a formally trained painter, he was a self-taught sculptor and his work reflects the exuberance and personal relationship he had with the art form. He kept most of his sculptures in his personal possession rarely allowing these works to be displayed. One of the first and only times some of these pieces were presented publicly was in 1966 at a major retrospective at the Petit Palais in Paris when the artist was 85 years old. The following year, the MoMA staged Sculpture of Picasso in New York featuring many of the same works. Picasso’s sculptures have not been on public view on such a grand scale since.


Insect (1951) was created from fired white clay and painted.

Picasso was fond of unconventional techniques and materials and frequently used found objects and materials including scrap wood, wire, metal and cardboard in his sculpture. Wicker baskets, pie tins, palm fronds, toy cars and many other scavenged items found their way into Picasso’s work. He used a bicycle seat and handlebars to create Bull’s Head, which was on loan from a private collection, for example.


Bull’s Head, (Spring 1942) is a repurposed bicycle seat and handlebars.


Left, bronze Pregnant Woman (1949). Right, Flowery Watering Can (1951-52) incorporates a watering can, plaster, nails and wood.

Museumgoers will learn that Picasso’s forays into sculpture were influenced by many sources including ceramics and woodcarvings by Paul Gaugin and Edgar Degas as well as by Oceanic and African sculpture. His themes run the gamut from political expression to family life. Just as in his paintings, women are frequent subjects in Picasso’s sculpture.


Left, Bather (1931) bronze. Right, Head of a Woman (1932) plaster.



Left, Woman with Vase (1933) bronze. Center, Head of a Warrior (1933) plaster, metal and wood.

He enjoyed reinventing and reimagining many of the same themes as the exhibition demonstrates. His Glass of Absinthe – six different polychromed bronze pieces each including an actual absinthe spoon, is a good example of this.


Seated Woman (1947), Standing Woman (1945), Seated Musician (1950), and Seated Faun (1950) are among the small earthenware, terracotta and clay pieces in this display case.

Visitors to Museum of Modern Art will need timed tickets to see the Picasso Sculpture exhibition. Only members, corporate members and guests accompanied by members are exempt from this. Each day a limited number of tickets will be available for same day viewing but we strongly suggest that you get your tickets in advance to ensure you don’t miss this wonderful exhibition.


Woman with Outstretched Arms (1961) painted iron and sheet metal.

Published in conjunction with the exhibition and available in the MoMA’s book and gift shops, the Picasso Sculpture catalog makes a beautiful souvenir that will allow you to revisit your favorite works again and again.



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