14 OCTOBER 2022-12 FEBRUARY 2023
Pablo Picasso, Violin and Music Sheet, Paris, Fall 1912
Colored laid papers, white wove paper printed with musical score and brown wove wrapping paper cut and glued to cardboard, 78 × 63.5 cm
Musée national Picasso-Paris, inv. MP368, acceptance in lieu in 1979
© Succession Picasso / © RMN-Grand Palais (MnP-Paris) / photo: Adrien Didierjean

Even though Pablo Picasso (1881-1973) was an assiduous detractor of abstract art, he was nonetheless perceived by many of his contemporaries as one of the precursors of this history. This paradox is partly due to the fact that the artist himself had an ambiguous relationship with the principle of Abstraction, constantly returning to it throughout his life. Furthermore, many of the artists who fully embraced non-figurative painting, from the Russian avant-gardes to the American Abstract Expressionists, claimed his legacy.

The exhibition addresses the major stages that marked the links between Picasso's work and the history of abstract art, from the first Cubist experiments of 1907, carried out on the fringes of Les Demoiselles d'Avignon, to his later work, which is sometimes situated on the borders of action painting. This surprising relationship, made up of small advances, retreats and backward steps, are presented in the subtle chronological and thematic course of the exhibition, revealing the artist's pendulum movement between abstraction and the figurative over the decades.