Passing through London or Paris?
Everyone benefits from a measure of art when traveling; museums are frequently some of the grandest architectural structures in a city and contain additional riches inside.
My recent Journey to London and Paris was enhanced by a few memorable hours in museums. Picasso is always an invitation to linger, and London and Paris have a plethora of Picasso’s at the moment. Might I recommend a few hours of wandering?
London’s National Portrait Gallery is one of my favorite museums; geographically accessible in St Martin’s Place, right off Trafalgar Square. When it opened in 1856, it was the first portrait gallery in the world. Primarily housing portraits of historically famous and important British people, it also hosts many traveling exhibitions.
Picasso’s Portraits runs until February 5, 2017. If I were required to choose between several exhibits in Paris at the moment and this exhibition, I would say get thee to Paris on the next plane…however, my schedule delivered me initially to London.
Picasso’s Portraits provide an immense variety of drawings, paintings and sketches of over 80 works focusing on friends, family, his numerous lovers and wives. The body of the work includes realist oil paintings, including many self-portraits from his early career and provides a full representation of his evolving technique and his experimenting with various painting styles. The website has a marvelous video presentation of many of the pieces.
Personally, I love Picasso and never tire of seeing an exhibit or visit the Picasso Museum in Barcelona. His career spanned so many interesting periods and styles…the moody Blue period, seeing his travel influences, in particular I love his perspective change after he saw an African mask exhibit in Paris. The female shape became so angular and descriptive, Picasso didn’t seem to be ruled by fear of change and loved to experiment.
Separate blog on the block buster exhibition at Fondation Louis Vuitton. But while in Paris also look for ‘Frederic Bazille The Youth of Impressionism’ at the Musee d’Orsay until March 5. Monet and his best friend Bazille shared an Impressionist history, unfortunately Bazille died on the battlefield during the Franco-Prussian War, his reputation as a significant contributor to the movement has been building. Much of his work and a number of pieces by Monet, Renoir are on display. This show moves to Washington’s National Gallery in April.