“Picasso Érotique”

Musée National du Jeu de Paume

YOU'D THINK EVERY ANGLE ON PICASSO HAD BEEN WORKED TO DEATH BY NOW—that each period, style, genre, and subject had already chalked up its own blockbuster exhibition. So on seeing this show's title, one could only wonder: Why hasn't it been done before?

Actually, it has. The Museu Picasso in Barcelona (where the present exhibition will end its tour after traveling to the Musée des Beaux-Arts, Montreal) mounted their own “Erotic Picasso” show in 1979. Still, the subject seems surprisingly under-explored, given that Picasso's stylistic chronology has been made to seem so closely linked to the succession of his mistresses. And it's practically a truism to say, as one of the contributors to this show's catalogue does, that “His painting, whatever the subject, was always sexual in origin, a moment of erotic intensity derived from the simple act of spurting color onto canvas.” That's crudely

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