20th Century Works on Paper. From Aug 23rd through Nov 2nd, 2008. The Gertrude Silverstone Muss Gallery at the Bass Museum of Art is showcasing approximately eighty works on paper by some of the 20th century’s most renowned Spanish artists, as well as artists from other countries whose careers were impacted by Spain. Rarely seen sketches and illustrations by artists such as Pablo Picasso, Joan Miró, Sonia Delaunay, Juan Gris, Francis Picabia and Joaquín Torres-Garcia are on display. These works on paper show how these artists first honed their talent in drawings and watercolors, and illustrate how the tension between figuration and abstraction dominated the course of art during this period. The exhibition covers four movements: Pioneers of the Avant-garde; The International Influence; Cubism and the School of Paris; and The Surrealist Movement.
The works from Pioneers of the Avant-garde are figurative and highly expressive, and include illustrations of people and landscapes with a “purist” sensibility. Beginning in 1900 many artists, such as Juan Gris, Julio González, and Joaquím Sunyer, settled in Paris that quickly became the epicenter of the Spanish Avant-garde. There, artists developed a new style of painting, using vivid colors for emotional and decorative effects. Realistic drawings of every-day people were also a favorite subject of artists during this time, as seen in Isidre Nonell’s Woman Seated from 1906 that illustrates clean formats and great expressive force.
Spanish artists during the first quarter of the 20th century were greatly influenced by artists such as Joanquín Torres Garcia, Rafael Pérez Giménez, Sonia Delaunay, Serge Charchoune, and Francis Picabia, who were part of The International Influence. Artists from outside Spain greatly contributed to the production of innovative and dynamic works with a futuristic vision. Experimentation with color in art and designsimultaníisme (simultaneous design where two designs placed next to another affects both) explored concepts of geometric abstraction. An example in the exhibition includes a stunning tempera on paper, Disque Portugal from 1915 by Delaunay, which explores the tension between representation and abstraction through vibrant circles.
Boundaries between abstraction and figurative art were completely severed with the movement of Cubism and the School of Paris that is considered to be one of the great turning points in Western art. Artists such as Juan Gris and Pablo Picasso broke completely from the past by fully exploring optical and geometric abstraction, as well as by creating three-dimensional representational forms in two-dimensional planes. A beautiful tempera on paper by Picasso, Sin Título (Arlequín y Polichinela) from 1924, is a prime example of this period that features Picasso’s signature harlequin figure.
Symbolism, the subconscious, “automatic” drawing, flattened planes, organic forms, unexpected juxtapositions, and humor were common elements of The Surrealistic Movement, that was led by artists such as Salvador Dalí, Joan Miró, and Antoni Tápies.
This exhibition features a delicate ink on paper, Solitude Mentale (Mental Solitude) from 1932 by Dalí, featuring his trademark “melting” pocket watch, expanding landscape, and bizarre forms, drawn with a sharp line. This exhibition explores the genesis of these great masters’ ideas through exquisite and rare sketches, oil and watercolors, and tempera works on paper that evolved into some of the most famous works of art in the world.
Bass Museum of Art
2121 Park Avenue
Miami Beach, FL 33139