There’s much to learn about Pablo Picasso: painter, sculptor, innovator, womanizer. And things are about to get even more personal when his private collection, typically housed at the Musée National Picasso, Paris, takes up residence at Seattle Art Museum on October 8. Consider getting acquainted with the Spanish master before the exhibit opens at SAM in the Studio tonight at 5 at Hotel 1000. Susan Brotman, SAM’s deputy director for art and curator of European painting and sculpture, and Chiyo Ishikawa, the Seattle curator for Picasso, will offer insight into the 150-piece collection, which will occupy a whopping 11 galleries in SAM’s downtown branch. “It’s no exaggeration to say it’s the biggest thing [SAM has] ever done," Ishikawa told me earlier this week.
Can’t make it tonight? Don’t worry: Ishikawa gave us a preview of the preview. What’s particularly enticing about the Picasso exhibit is its scope and breadth—it covers his entire career, from 1900-1973, and only reinforces “how bottomless his imagination is,” Ishikawa says. But of all the masterpieces on display, her favorite piece is a bit of a shocker: Still Life with a Pitcher and Apples from 1919. She loves the imaginative placement of the apples—on a plate on top of the pitcher rather than on the table—and the supple curves of the fruit and porcelain. “Picasso eroticizes everything,” she says, “and it translates throughout the entire personal collection.”
Mistresses often serve as muse for Picasso, and though Dora Maar (the “high keyed and brittle” subject of Weeping Woman fame) is the most familiar, the collection also features Marie-Thérèse Walter, a 17-year-old whom Ishikawa says the artist was “besotted” with in his late 40s. A room featuring busts of Marie-Thérèse and portraits, both abstract and literal, is the “beating heart of the exhibit and collection.”
Find out more tonight at Hotel 1000. Admission and appetizers are free, and wine is available starting at 5pm; lecture starts at 5:30.