Munich’s Pinakothek der Moderne to host major new exhibition placing the work of Picasso, Max Beckmann, Willem de Kooning alongside one another to explore their depiction of women
This March, Munich’s Pinakothek der Moderne will stage a major exhibition investigating the role of the female figure in the works of three of the most influential artists of the 20th century – Max Beckmann, Pablo Picasso, and Willem de Kooning. The exhibition will bring together around 100 works from across the globe, from institutions such as the State Hermitage Museum (St. Petersburg), the Tate Gallery (London), MoMA (NYC), the Centre Pompidou and the Louvre (Paris), as well as loans from private collections which have never been on public display before.
This landmark exhibition aims to re-evaluate the work of Beckmann, Picasso and de Kooning by exploring the depiction of women in their art. According to the Curator, Carla Schulz-Hoffmann – in contradiction to ‘common views and interpretations in art history’ –, the works of Picasso, Beckmann and de Kooning ‘represent free and emancipated women’. This is something of vital significance ‘today where pornographic images are part of our visual culture’.
Setting aside the familiar clichés about the artists’ private lives and their relationships to women, the exhibition aspires for an objective analysis of the female figure as a subject matter in their work reveals. What transpires, its organisers believe, is that the depicted women are far more than mere projections of male fantasies and desires and instead gain an extraordinary significance of their own. In the work of Picasso, for instance, women often act as a mirror for the problems and turmoils of his time, whereas in Beckmann’s work the female figure seems to represent otherworldly freedom which contrasts with the stark realities of the world around him.
The Pinakothek der Moderne, which celebrates its 10th anniversary in 2012, is the perfect venue for such an exhibition as it holds one of the most comprehensive collections of Max Beckmann works in the world.
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