It’s A Beautiful Day At The Beyeler Foundation.

On the left: "Head" by Francis Bacon, 1949. On the right: "Le Nez (The Nose)" by Alberto Giacometti, 1947–1949.

On the left: "Head" by Francis Bacon, 1949. On the right: "Le Nez (The Nose)" by Alberto Giacometti, 1947–1949.


It’s Tuesday, June 12 and Kaveh Mojtabai, Artscope publisher, accompanied by Nancy Nesvet, writer, have the distinct pleasure of attending a talk at the Fondation Beyeler in Riehen, Switzerland. The talk includes Sam Keller, foundation director, along with Chief Curator Raphael Bouvier, and Diana Widmaier Picasso, the granddaughter of Marie Therese Walter and Pablo Picasso.

In honor of the exhibition of his work, The Early Picasso: The Blue and Rose Period, beginning later this year, these connoisseurs of his work shed light on Picasso’s early œuvre. Blue, the tone of his mood when his work was not yet selling in his early career, 1901-7; Rose the color of his figures when, in love with Marie Therese, resulted from his lifted mood. His courage showed in Demoiselles d’Avignon, a study for which Picasso’s friend Ernst Beyeler bought for his collection. This study was so cherished that when he wanted to sell it, his wife placed her suitcase on top of it and threatened to leave if the painting left.

The Beyelers went on to collect twenty-three Picassos and more work by artists prominent today. Later, we are told by Mr. Bouvier, that the circus pictures, and harlequin images emanate from the chaotic culture around Picasso after the Rose Period. It’s fascinating to see the sudden progression from blue to rose, each reflecting the body and facial language of depression and then the delicate, rose-colored happiness of love. The drawing throughout is minimal and impeccable, each line gently curving along the body and carrying the weight of mood and labor.

The exhibition clearly shows the change as representations turn to the harsh, straight lines of cubism, with Picasso leading the way from one school to the next, bringing along his artistic coterie.

The building housing the collection, designed in 1982 by Renzo Piano is an artistic marvel, looking out to Tuscan-like hills. The Giacometti exhibition currently on view fits the geometric framework beautifully. The exhibition, Alberto Giacometti/Francis Bacon, here until September 2, 2018, exhibits the paintings of Bacon with the sculptures of Giacometti. The flowing elongated brushstrokes of Bacon beautifully mirror the linearity of Giacometti’s sculpture in a surprising but convincing juxtaposition.

Join us as we journey to the Art Basel Fair in our next Art Basel update.

Nancy Nesvet

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