Picasso Landscapes: Out of Bounds

  Mint Museum Uptown
February 11 – May 21, 2023

Picasso Landscapes: Out of Bounds is the first museum exhibition to explore Pablo Picasso’s deep engagement with landscape subjects and his expansive approach to this traditional genre.

Through a selection of more than 40 works spanning Picasso’s full career, Picasso Landscapes: Out of Bounds explores the depth of the artist’s engagement with landscape subjects along with his expansive approach to this traditional genre. The Mint Museum is the first of only three venues in the United States — and the only venue on the East Coast — to feature this exceptional exhibition filled with works from private collections and international museums together for the first time. Assembling some of Picasso’s greatest landscape compositions in one traveling exhibition, Picasso Landscapes: Out of Bounds coincides with the 50th anniversary of the artist’s death. The dynamic grouping of works in the exhibition offers visitors an unparalleled window into the artist’s creative process, from his earliest days in art school (1896 when then artist was just 15 years old) to months before his passing in 1973.

More about the exhibition

Picasso was committed to depicting landscapes throughout his entire life. From his earliest days in art school until the year before his death, landscape remained the prime genre through which he mediated his perception of the world and which shaped his own creative evolution. Landscape served as a catalyst for his formal experimentation, including early Cubism, as a field in which to investigate urban modernity, as an interface between humanity and nature, as a ground for direct sculptural intervention, as a space of personal withdrawal, as an inviting terrain for elegiac scenes, and as a territory of resistance and flight.
Within Picasso’s vast oeuvre, landscapes have received the least scholarly attention. This art-historical dearth notwithstanding, to ignore Picasso’s landscapes is to miss a crucial dimension of his achievement. Landscapes offer the clearest lens for understanding Picasso’s attentiveness to his cultural milieu as well as to his ongoing engagement with art-historical traditions.
This examination of Picasso’s landscapes highlights the artist’s attention to tensions between humanity and nature, and to the changing countryside being reshaped by industrialization. Picasso expressed this awareness throughout his landscape production, beginning early in the 20th century in Spain, where powerful forces of nature met the excitement of urban growth in his paintings of Málaga, Gósol, Horta de Ebro, and Barcelona.
The systematic destruction wrought by World War II and years of occupation color the artist’s Paris cityscapes of the 1940s and the atmosphere of works such as Winter Landscape (1950). Picasso’s grand Côte d’Azur landscapes done at the end of his career show the urbanization of a region where, in earlier decades, he had captured the lives of peasants and laborers. The devastation of the Anthropocene and the political rise of the ecological movement in France coincided with Picasso’s last landscape of 1972, an immense work that reads like an epitaph to both his creative and social life.
Organized by the American Federation of Arts with guest curator Laurance Madeline, Picasso Landscapes: Out of Bounds will be organized into sections, which address various phases, approaches, or themes in the artist’s landscape painting, and which yield new insights into his creative production and broader involvement with the world of his time. Through this in-depth study of Picasso’s diverse landscapes, it becomes possible to reclaim the genre’s primacy in his work and to affirm his keen focus on the shifting twentieth-century cultural backdrop.
Cultural organizations working with the Mint to create a multilayered experience of innovative programming, include the Charlotte Symphony, Bechtler Museum of Modern Art, Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture, Theatre Charlotte, JazzArts Charlotte, Charlotte Mecklenburg Library, and Charlotte Ballet.

Thank you to our sponsors:

Picasso Landscapes: Out of Bounds is generously presented in Charlotte by Bank of America, the City of Charlotte, Duke Energy, Mecklenburg County, M.A. Rogers, Ann and Michael Tarwater, North Carolina Arts Council, and Moore & Van Allen. Additional generous support is provided by: Leigh-ann and Martin Sprock; Robin and Bill Branstrom, Sally G. Cooper, Laura and Mike Grace, Marshelette and Milton Prime; Posey and Mark Mealy; Chandra and Jimmie Johnson; Marty and Weston Andress, Mary and Walt Beaver, Betsy and Alfred Brand; toni and Alfred Kendrick, Beth and Drew Quartapella, Rocky and Curtis Trenkelbach, Charlotte and John Wickham; Mary Lou and Jim Babb, and Jo Ann and Joddy Peer. The Mint Museum is supported, in part, by the Infusion Fund and its generous donors. Picasso Landscapes: Out of Bounds is organized by the American Federation of Arts with guest curator Laurance Madeline. The exhibition is generously supported by Monique Schoen Warshaw. Additional support has been provided by Lee White Galvis, Clare E. McKeon, and Stephanie R. La Nasa. Support for the accompanying publication provided by Furthermore: a program of the J.M. Kaplan Fund.  

Images: Pablo Picasso (Spanish, 1881-1973). Landscape of Juan-les-Pins, summer 1920, oil on canvas. Musée Picasso, Paris, Donation Pablo Picasso, 1979, MP68. Image ©
RMN-Grand Palais / Art Resource, NY, Photo: Mathieu Rabeau. © 2023 Estate of Pablo Picasso / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
Pablo Picasso (Spanish, 1881-1973). The Village of Vauvenargues, April 29-30, 1959, oil on canvas. Fundación Almine y Bernard Ruiz-Picasso para el Arte, Madrid. Image © FABA, Photo: Hugard & Vanoverschelde Photography. © 2023 Estate of Pablo Picasso / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York