Picasso's Guitars - 3/1/2016

The guitar and its stringed ancestors have been a frequent subject of painters for hundreds of years. Some of history’s most important classical and modern painters have featured the guitar in their paintings. In the 20th century, Pablo Picasso (1881–1973) created many abstract painting and sculptures featuring the guitar. This was due to the importance of the guitar in the music of his native Spain. Picasso’s various approaches to the guitar include paintings, collages, and paper sculpture. Two sculptures given by Picasso to the Museum of Modern Art in New York are the subject of the following video by Khan Academy. 

"I have seen what no man has seen before. When Pablo Picasso, leaving aside painting for a moment, was constructing this immense guitar out of sheet metal whose plans could be dispatched to any ignoramus in the universe who could put it together as well as him, I saw Picasso's studio, and this studio, more incredible than Faust's laboratory, this studio which, according to some, contained no works of art, in the old sense, was furnished with the newest of objects... Some witnesses, already shocked by the things that they saw covering the walls, and that they refused to call paintings because they were made of oilcloth, wrapping paper, and newspaper, said, pointing a haughty finger at the object of Picasso's clever pains: "What is it? Does it rest on a pedestal? Does it hang on a wall? What is it, painting or sculpture?' Picasso, dressed in the blue of Parisian artisans, responded in his finest Andalusian voice: 'It's nothing, it's el guitare!'; And there you are! The watertight compartments are demolished. We are delivered from painting and sculpture, which already have been liberated from the idiotic tyranny of genres. It is neither this nor that. It is nothing. It's el guitare!" (André Salmon, New French Painting, August 9, 1919)

Picasso, Guitar: A conversation between Salman Khan and Steven Zucker about Pablo Picasso's sculpture, Guitar and related work, 1912-14 at The Museum of Modern Art

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