The Frist Art Museum in Nashville is offering a once-in-a- lifetime glimpse at rare works generated by one of the most innovative figures in modern art history through May 2.
In celebration of the museum’s 20th anniversary, 75 pieces by Pablo Picasso from the Musée National Picasso-Paris have temporarily taken up residence at the Frist, 919 Broadway, in an exhibition called “Picasso. Figures.”
The stop marks the collection’s “first and only” U.S. appearance, said Frist Interpretation Director Meagan Rust. After Nashville, the exhibit will be transported to the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec for the summer.
The collection includes works crafted by Picasso from a young age, as young as 14 years old, progressing to works created as recently as the 1970s.
Being able to host the exhibition at the museum’s Ingram Gallery is a dream come true for many at the museum.
“For many years, we have been looking for a Picasso show of this caliber and we are thrilled that, during our 20th anniversary, we will be able to share this astonishing collection with our city and everyone who will travel to see it,” Frist Art Museum Director and CEO Susan H. Edwards said in a prepared release.
“There are few artists who have as recognizable a name as Picasso,” Rust added. “You say it and people automatically get some type of image, an abstract face, cubist works he helped pioneer. Everybody has something that comes into their minds when you say it.”
Innovation, Rust said, is one of the biggest components of Picasso’s revered aura.
“He was such an innovator, constantly creating new ways of painting and sculpting,” Rust said.
And due to the stylistic and chronological range of the collection, that personal evolution is, quite literally, on full display.
Still, there is a central focus. The collection includes paintings, works on paper and sculptures all honed in on the artist’s interpretations of the human body.
“It allows you to see how his style changed through his career,” Rust explained. “You can see how his approach to the human body changed, through cubism, surrealism to more expressive paintings.”
Frist Art Museum Chief Curator Mark Scala indicated Picasso's views on the world around him are quite visible through the exhibition as well.
“Viewers will see how, as Picasso continuously deconstructed and then remade the body, he was also recasting the history of figuration as a combination of his own psychological view of humanity and observations about the disruptive nature of life in the 20th century,” Scala said in a prepared release.
In conjunction with the loan, the Frist is offering several learning opportunities, including free virtual visits in 30-minute increments, a free dialogue between Vanderbilt University and West Texas University professors and, for a fee, a three-part art history course.
However, viewing appointments and class spots are being claimed faster than you can say Pablo Diego José Francisco de Paula Juan Nepomuceno María de los Remedios Cipriano de la Santísima Trinidad Ruiz y Picasso, Picasso’s full name.
To register for those events, visit https://fristartmuseum.org. Tickets to view the exhibition can also be purchased there.