Palm Springs Art Museum
Palm Desert
Edwards Harris Center
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SIMPLY MASTERFUL: PICASSO AND ARTISTS OF THE MODERN ERA

June 23rd – September 4th, 2011
Palm Springs Art Museum

During the turn of the twentieth century, two distinct currents in European art may be identified. The first were artists who upheld a fading classical tradition. They promoted representational art that was based on the academic study of the figure, landscape and still life. The other group was the forerunners of what is generally termed Modern Art. They expressed freedom and independence from established styles and explored new ways to use color and the concept of purely abstract painting.

In the first decades of the twentieth century, the two distinct artistic currents exploded into many artistic schools and art movements. Tracing this course, from Post-Impressionism to Abstract Expressionism through a century of Modern Art, the works on view in this exhibition do not present a traditional survey in which artists are divided into national schools. Instead, this presentation combines drawings and paintings by artists from Europe, the United States and Latin America to highlight the international aspects of Modernism.

Impressionist artists Edouard Manet and Pierre Renoir translated pigment on canvas to capture life, nature and the effects of light and atmosphere. Post-Impressionist amplifications of emotion are expressed through vivid color by Henri Matisse, Louis Valtat, Vincent Van Gogh, and others. Mid- twentieth-century abstractions by artists such as Willem de Kooning, Matta, Joan Mitchell, Pablo Picasso, Mark Rothko, and Rufino Tamayo are animated by hue and gesture. These artworks reveal basic concerns shared by many artists when they are freed from conventional limitations and inspired to express the world around them in masterful ways.

This exhibition was organized by the Palm Springs Art Museum.