Friday, May 17, 2013

Cubists & Cubism at Complesso del Vittoriano

The "Cubisti Cubismo" (Cubists Cubism) show, on right now at Complesso del Vittorano, revives the excitement and energy of an art movement Bill and I had thought was exhausted. The work on display is first-rate in every category -- we made many discoveries -- but what is most interesting is that it has been gathered from literature, design, music, cinema and architecture as well as painting.
Approaching from the Corso, you'll find the entrance on the left side of this oversized, ugly building.
Our first happy surprise was a recording of Gertrude Stein reading her "If I Told Him: A Completed Portrait of Picasso". You may know it - it's a famous recording. Stein does a terrific job as her avant-guard text scrolls up the wall.
Bill and I love graphic design and enjoyed documenting these book pages for future inspiration.
J'ai tue': Prose by Blaise Cendras. Illustrated by Fernand Leger.
Portrait of Blaise Cendrars by Amedeo Modigliani, 1919.
I fell in love with this painting by Braque: "Glass of Absinthe", 1911. It looks so much better here in its frame than unframed in the show's catalogue. It was exciting for me to suddenly start to be able to SEE cubism.
You'll find the paintings on the lower floor, cinema, architecture, domestic and graphic design are upstairs, including three of Picasso's costumes for Eric Satie's "Parade".
The show featured many artists we had never seen before, like Ardengo Soffici. Here's his "Cocomero e Liquori", 1914.
I've never seen this fabulous Marsden Hartley before. Isn't it wonderful -- those subtle colours! "Movement, n. 8, Provincetown", 1916.
When Bill and I saw the catalogue after the show, we knew right away we had to have it -- even though the text is in Italian. I was surprised to see they have the Hartley upside down. At least I assume the painting is right-side-up in the show. Easier to fix than a catalogue. File under: Bloopers. Actually I think the painting works both ways.
A stunning Georges Braque: "Cubist Still Life", 1921. This show makes a very persuasive case for Braque's achievement. I admit I've underestimated him.
Picasso continues to look fresh: "Squatting Woman", 1958.
Here is one of his prints: "Composition II", 1919-1922.
Let's go up to the second floor.
Yes, that's a parrot on his hat. The show had three movies on continuous play.
Fun to see the Bloomsbury Group's Omega Workshop included. Here's a gorgeous Duncan Grant: (title in Italian) "Scizzo per Parafuoco", circa 1915. Strips of painted newspaper.
We'll end on Sonia Delaunay's stunning textile designs.
They still look "modern" and utterly fresh.

"Untitled", gouache, 1926. The show is on until the 23rd of June. If you're in Rome, don't miss it!



  1. What an amazing exhibit, I love how it begins with Gertrude & you've ended with Sonia's jazzy patterns.

  2. You got it Shelly. We love being wowed and we were wowed by this show. John