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PICASSO THE FOREIGNER - A fresh approach about the artist

The exhibition runs from 4th November 2021 until 13th February 2022 at the Parisian Musée de l’Histoire de l’Immigration, in collaboration with the Picasso Museum in Paris.

Based on remarkable research by noted historian Annie Cohen-Solal, the show reframes a radically novel aspect about Picasso’s trajectory. Cohen-Solal is the curator of the exhibition, assisted by Elsa Rigaux.

20 Septembre 2021 - 17:40

Poster of the exhibition Picasso L'Etranger
Poster of the exhibition Picasso L'Etranger


One may have the impression that everything has been said about Picasso, mythical artist of last century, because he provoked such passionate debates, polemic discussions and controversy about his ‘oeuvre’. In general people are not aware of the obstacles Pablo Ruiz Picasso faced when he arrived in 1900 aged 19 in time for the Paris Universal Exhibition from Spain, unable to speak French.

The French capital was still shaken by the aftermath of the Dreyfus affair and Picasso, soon befriended by Max Jacob, had to navigate his way through the modern metropolis fighting against pervasive xenophobia. Beginning with his first show at Galerie Vollard in 1901, police began to monitor the artist. Picasso was stigmatized as an intruder, a foreigner, a radical and, supreme insult, ‘avant-garde’ artist. Four decades later, already world-famous, he was refused French nationality. During the war and afterwards, his work was not shown in France until 1947.

Pablo Picasso, Un homme à la Mandoline, autumn 1911, Musée National Picasso Paris©RMN-Grand Palais/photo Adrien Didierjean
Pablo Picasso, Un homme à la Mandoline, autumn 1911, Musée National Picasso Paris©RMN-Grand Palais/photo Adrien Didierjean

PICASSO moves to the South of France

According to historian Cohen-Solal, all these labels undeniably affected the daily life and work of the artist who left Paris in 1955 to settle in the South. Here Picasso established himself as a global artist  and illustrious foreigner who worked with local craftsmen. Picasso openly challenged the old-fashioned standards of good taste still prevalent in the French museum world. Picasso, the shrewd political strategist, thus became a significant contributor to the cultural modernization of France.

In the midst of today’s global migration crisis, Cohen-Solal judges the reassessment of Picasso’s odyssey as a foreigner and artistic creator of crucial importance, because it still plays a pivotal part in the contemporary international artistic world, serving as an example of how to overcome such immense difficulties.

Pablo Picasso, La Lecture de la Lettre, 1921, Musée National Picasso©RMN-Grand Palais/photo Mathieur Rabeau
Pablo Picasso, La Lecture de la Lettre, 1921, Musée National Picasso©RMN-Grand Palais/photo Mathieur Rabeau

Elements of the Exhibition in Paris

Exceptional loans from the Musée National Picasso in Paris, the Museu Picasso in Barcelona, the Musée Picasso in Antibes, the Centre Pompidou in Paris and many museums and private collections around the world serve to establish new links between documents, photographs and films from archives, together with the artist’s work, shedding new light on the course of scholarly research on Picasso.

The exhibition is accompanied by a catalogue ‘Picasso The Foreigner’ with contributions by 25 authors under the supervision of Annie Cohen-Solal which is a sequel to Cohen-Solal’s book ‘Un Etranger nommé Picasso (Paris, Fayard, April 2021).


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Mots-clés de l'article : exposition, musée, paris news post, picasso

Kunang Helmi-Picard
Fatma Kunang Helmi was born in Yogjakarta, Indonesia. Education in Switzerland, Australia and... En savoir plus sur cet auteur

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