Pablo Picasso. Still life with Guitar. Variant state. Paris, assembled before November 15, 1913. Subsequently preserved by the artist. Paperboard, paper, string, and painted wire installed with cut cardboard box, Overall: 30 x 20 1/2 x 7 3/4" (76.2 x 52.1 x 19.7cm). The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Gift of the artist


February 13 to June 6, 2011 – The Museum of Modern Art.

Sometime between October and December 1912, Pablo Picasso (1881–1973) made a guitar. Cobbled together from cardboard, paper, string, and wire, materials he cut, folded, threaded, and glued, Picasso’s purely visual instrument resembled no sculpture ever seen before. In 1914 the artist reiterated his fragile papery construction in more fixed and durable sheet metal form. These two Guitars, both gifts from the artist to MoMA, bracket an incandescent period of material and structural experimentation in Picasso’s work. It is this breakthrough moment in twentieth-century art, and the Guitars place within it, that Picasso: Guitars 1912–1914 explores. Bringing together some seventy closely connected collages, constructions, drawings, mixed-media paintings, and photographs assembled from over thirty public and private collections worldwide, this exhibition offers fresh insight into Picasso’s cross-disciplinary process in the years immediately preceding World War I. A publication will accompany Picasso: Guitars 1912–1914. MoMA is also working on the development of an e-book to follow the exhibition that will draw upon close examination of the works assembled for the show.

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