On the eve of Pablo Picasso’s 85 birthday in 1966, a large retrospective Hommage à Picasso was put on at the Grand Palais in Paris, France. The show contained around 800 works, above and away the largest Picasso retrospective up until that time. The next closest was at the Tate in London, England and featured 289 paintings. The exhibit consisted of works donated from museums around the world, including Demoiselles d’Avignon from the New York Museum of Modern Art (MOMA), as well as pieces from Russia (then Soviet Union). Picasso donated around 700 pieces from his private collections of work ranging from paintings and drawings, to ceramics and over 200 sculptures. This was one of the first times that such a large collection of his sculpture was on display. Before this point, most of his sculptures remained in his possession, not shown to the outside world. The show spanned 60 years of artistic production – creating an amazing opportunity to see the range of Picasso’s periods as well as his myriad of different styles over the years.
The motivation behind Hommage à Picasso was in part a celebration of the artists’ birthday and long artistic career, but was also motivated by French Cultural Affairs Minister André Malraux who was pushing a cultural renaissance in France at the time. The show garnered lots of attention – including a deluge of reviews and commentary that continued throughout the exhibition and well beyond. This was the final show before the renovation of the Grand Palais – an impressive send off.
Holloway, Memory. Making Time: Picasso’s Suite 347. New York: Peter Lang Publishing, 2006.
International Herald Tribune. “1966: Gigantic Picasso Show for Grand Palais,”The New York Times. October 18th, 2016. Accessed October 19th, 2016. http://iht-retrospective.blogs.nytimes.com/2016/10/18/1966-gigantic-picasso-show-for-paris-grand-palais/
“Picasso Sculpture,” Spain Arts and Culture. Accessed October 19, 2016. https://www.spainculture.us/city/new-york/picasso-sculpture/