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New on View: Pablo Picasso, Max Beckmann, Morris Louis, Donald Judd

The Museum is hosting a series of special loans this fall. On your next visit, please stop by the first and second levels of the Jubitz Center for Modern and Contemporary Art to take a look.

Sara Krajewski, The Robert and Mercedes Eichholz Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art

Pablo Picasso, Portrait of Lola, The Artist’s Sister, 1901, on loan from a private collection

Maria Dolores Ruiz Picasso was called Lola by her family. Picasso drew and painted his younger sister many times while he was an adolescent and teenager. This work on loan captures Lola at seventeen years old in 1901, the year that marks the beginning of Picasso’s famous “blue period.” The portrait shares the somber mood and cool colors that characterize that first mature body of work, created over a brief, three-year period. It retains some of the realism that Picasso-the-student would have observed and admired in paintings at Madrid’s Prado Museum by Spanish court painters Diego Velazquez and El Greco. He merges this influence with the stylistic trends of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist artists that he would have seen on his first trip to Paris in 1900. This small painting suggests how much the twenty-year-old artist rapidly assimilated and innovated upon the techniques of his predecessors and peers.

Max Beckmann, Die Barke (The Skiff), 1926, on loan from a private collection 

The Museum is pleased to host the special loan of an early painting by the German expressionist painter Max Beckmann, Die Barke (The Skiff) on view now in the Jubitz Center for Modern and Contemporary Art. Throughout his career, Beckmann painted the sea as a subject matter full of allusion and symbolism. The artist often drew from his own life experiences to create images conveying life’s triumphs and great tragedies. Die Barke (The Skiff) from 1926 depicts a vivacious party rowing out on calm waters. In late 1925, Beckmann and his wife Quappi traveled from their home in Frankfurt, Germany to Italy for their honeymoon; the bright color palette and sensuous figures seem to reflect this time of love, promise and pleasure. The Skiff is hanging next to The Mill (1947), a fixture in the Mary Beth and Roger Burpee Gallery. The pair form a compelling contrast. In the 1940s during World War II, the Beckmanns fled to Amsterdam to escape the Nazi regime. In The Mill, the artist depicted people tied to a Dutch windmill and crowded into a cage with a dark green sea churning in the background, serving as a vivid reminder of the destruction and trauma of years just past.

Morris Louis and Donald Judd, two works from 1962, on loan from a private collection

Two very special loan works are now on view in the Jubitz Center’s Schnitzer/Novack Gallery on the second floor: Morris Louis, Number 38 and Donald Judd, Untitled (DSS 25). Both date to 1962, and this unique opportunity offers insight into a significant year for each artist. Number 38 is Louis’s final “stripe” painting made in the last year of his life. It demonstrates his masterful control over the process of staining raw canvas with diluted paint. The Museum’s collection is rich in other color field painters, and visitors will see a range of works created with this process hanging near this piece. The Judd wall-mounted work is one of his earliest “specific objects,” a phrase he used to describe his works that were neither painting or sculpture, yet contained elements of both mediums. While Judd came to be regarded as the master of minimalism, this work reinforces his attention to the expressive qualities of industrial materials. The pairing shows how artists took different paths but still moved away from illusionism and the representational in art in the early 1960s, forging the experiments in stripped-down abstraction that characterize Modern art in mid-century America.