The de Young is now open to the public. Learn about extra precautions to welcome you back.

 

February 27, 2021May 23, 2021

Calder-Picasso

The de Young museum is the first American venue for the exhibition Calder-Picasso, which features more than 100 sculptures, paintings, drawings, and graphics by Alexander Calder (1898–1976) and Pablo Picasso (1881–1973), two of the most innovative and influential artists of the twentieth century. With his mobiles, Calder animated sculpture and engaged the viewer in a dynamic dialogue with the ever-evolving artwork. Alternating between representation and abstraction, Picasso revealed and explored the infinite potential inherent in both styles, often in the same work of art.

Conceived and curated by Alexander Calder’s grandson Alexander S. C. Rower and Pablo Picasso’s grandson Bernard Ruiz-Picasso, this exhibition juxtaposes artworks by the two artists, revealing both the intriguing parallels between these great innovators and the unique visions that make each distinctive. They reaffirm the revolutionary contributions of two artists who transformed our conceptions of form and space—and thus the very definition of art itself.

Image: L: Pablo Picasso, "Nu couche" ["Reclining Nude"], 1932. Oil on canvas, 51 3/16 x 63 11/16 in. Musée national Picasso-Paris, Pablo Picasso Acceptance in Lieu, 1979. © 2021 Estate of Pablo Picasso / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photograph by Adrien Didierjean, © RMN-Grand Palais / Art Resource, NY. R: Alexander Calder, "Croisière," 1931. Wire, wood, and paint, 37” x 23” x 23”. Calder Foundation, New York. © 2021 Calder Foundation, New York / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photograph by Tom Powel Imaging © Calder Foundation, New York; photo courtesy Calder Foundation, New York / Art Resource, New York

\Tickets

Reserve tickets. Not a member? Join today.

In-Depth

Calder sought to capture the unseen and unknowable forces that lie beneath and beyond the three visible physical dimensions, in order to create a sense of grandeur immense, or “immense grandeur.” Picasso, who described his works as “pages from my diary,” fused the personal with the universal and was determined to achieve “a deeper likeness, more real than real, thus becoming sur-real.”

Both Calder and Picasso recognized and embraced the potential of the artist to reimagine both visible and invisible worlds through the related processes of constructing and deconstructing subjects and forms in art. For Calder, this process often was one of construction—creating, combining, and animating abstract elements to create a larger and ever-evolving conception of space. For Picasso, this process often was one of deconstruction—destroying, dissecting, and distilling existing subjects to reveal multiple realities—or surrealities. Both artists sought to visualize deeper truths that expand our sense of the possible in art.

Remarkably varied artworks by Calder and Picasso are juxtaposed in thematic groupings throughout the exhibition, revealing the intriguing parallels between these great innovators and the unique visions that make each distinctive. They reaffirm the revolutionary contributions of two artists who transformed our conceptions of form and space—and thus the very definition of art itself.

Show More +