Picasso Louvre Abu Dhabi
Three New Works by Pablo Picasso in Louvre Abu Dhabi
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Louvre Abu Dhabi has acquired three new works by Pablo Picasso, each of which exhibit a different aspect of his artistic approach. Souraya Noujaim, director of scientific, curatorial and collections management at Louvre Abu Dhabi, says that the Picasso works were acquired directly from the artist’s family, a process that was years in the making. It was a happy coincidence that Louvre Abu Dhabi is revealing the new additions to its collection on the 50th year of Picasso’s death as well as the fifth anniversary of the institution.

1. Woman Holding a Mandoline

Picasso created this painting during his Analytical Cubism period, in the thick of his artistic relationship with Georges Braque, who was also a pivotal figure in the development of cubism.

In the picture, the characteristic fragmentation of form is carried to almost unrecognizable lengths. Both the outlines of the figure and its internal drawing have been broken down into interpenetrative geometrical elements. The coloration is dominated by brown tones paling to beige. Blue-grey accents, often directly juxtaposed with dark, structural lines, imbue the painting with facet-like plasticity.

“Woman Holding a Mandoline is welcoming the public to a new era, to the modern and present day,” Souraya Noujaim says. “It is the beginning of the 20th century, where they deconstructed figures visually and that was an important rupture.”

2. Portrait of a Seated Woman (Olga)

This 1923 painting which depicts the artist’s wife, Olga Khokhlova, represents a completely different approach by Picasso. The work embodies his neoclassical period, where he was inspired by sculptures from ancient Greece and Rome.

In the picture, Khokhlova’s features are rendered in a manner that recalls Hellenistic and Roman depictions. As with most of his portraits, Pablo uses a fairly unobtrusive background in neutral tones to help build the focus towards his model. Picasso created several portraits of Khokhlova over the course of a decade. Portrait of a Seated Woman (Olga), however, is perhaps one of the most mysterious.

“We really thought that bringing Olga to the collection, as well as Woman Holding a Mandoline to the collection were key to telling part of the story of the great ruptures in art history,” Noujaim says.

3. Carnet no. 1076 – Studies of Yuri Gagarin is another Picasso’s work joining Louvre Abu Dhabi’s collection. A series of 12 drawn pages and eight white pages, the works depict the nuances of Picasso’s pencil strokes, with some pages even showing traces of the drawing he made previously on the notebook. Later this year, the pieces are expected to be put on exhibit.

At Louvre Abu Dhabi, one has an opportunity to admire not only these lately acquired masterpieces by Picasso, but also two remarkable loans from the Valletta National Museum of Archaeology and Musée du Louvre: ornamental pillars, known as cippi.