Pablo Picasso died 50 years ago this month, on April 8, 1973. This year, the cultural wings of the French and Spanish governments will observe the anniversary by collaborating on “Celebration Picasso 1973-2023,” a collection of exhibitions across Europe and the United States that play off each other like the colors and textures of a Cubist painting. These are six shows to seek out.
The Guggenheim Museum: ‘Young Picasso in Paris’
The Guggenheim will focus on one year of Picasso’s life, exhibiting 10 paintings and works on paper that the artist created after arriving in Paris in the fall of 1900. The show puts particular emphasis on “Le Moulin de la Galette,” an oil painting that offers a good way to compare and contrast Picasso’s style with those of other artists: The famous dance hall that the work depicts was something of a blank canvas for avant-garde brushes, having also been painted by Vincent van Gogh, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Ramon Casas and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec. May 12 through Aug. 6; guggenheim.org.
Brooklyn Museum: ‘It’s Pablo-matic: Picasso According to Hannah Gadsby’
Here’s a novel way to land a gig curating a high-profile Picasso show: publicly take the man to task. At least that’s how Hannah Gadsby, the Australian stand-up comic whose 2018 special, “Nanette,” included a piercing bit about the artist’s misogyny, found herself with an invitation to work on this Brooklyn Museum exhibition. The show, put together by Gadsby and the curators Lisa Small and Catherine Morris, will look at Picasso’s work with a feminist eye and address, among other issues, the perils of mythologizing the masters. It will also include works from the museum’s collection of feminist art. June 2 through Aug. 24; brooklynmuseum.org.
Museum of Modern Art: ‘Picasso in Fontainebleau’
In the summer of 1921, long before garages became the settings of folkloric Silicon Valley origin stories, Picasso shacked up in one in Fontainebleau, southeast of Paris, to take on his own creative pursuits. Paintings he created there included the neo-Classical “Three Women at the Spring” and the Cubist “Three Musicians,” both of which will be presented at MoMA alongside other works and archival materials from the period. Oct. 1 through Feb. 10, 2024; moma.org.
Musée de l’Homme: ‘Picasso and Prehistory’ (Paris)
Anniversary celebrations are inherently backward-looking. Why not go all the way? That’s the attitude that the Musée de l’Homme in Paris seems to have taken for its Picasso show, which centers on the influence that prehistoric art — ceramics, engravings, early paintings and drawings — had on Picasso’s work. Roughly 40 Picasso pieces, including “Woman Throwing a Stone,” a 1931 oil painting, are compared with artworks by prehistoric humans — the Picassos of the Stone Age. Open now, runs through June 12; museedelhomme.fr.
Musée Picasso: ‘Picasso Celebration: The Collection in a New Light’ (Paris)
The British fashion designer Paul Smith is the artistic director of this show, which emphasizes Picasso’s continued influence. Smith, with the curators Cécile Debray and Joanne Snrech, selected art from across Picasso’s career (including his early Blue Period “Self-Portrait” from 1901 and his 1942 found-object piece “Bull’s Head”) interspersed with works by the contemporary artists Guillermo Kuitca, Obi Okigbo, Mickalene Thomas and Chéri Samba. Open now, runs through Aug. 27; museepicassoparis.fr.
Museo Reina Sofía: ‘Picasso 1906: The Great Transformation’ (Madrid)
Like the Guggenheim, the Museo Reina Sofia (the permanent home of “Guernica”) in Madrid will zoom in on a single year in Picasso’s life. With a focus on drawings and sketchbooks, this show makes a case for 1906 as a transformational period in the artist’s career and, by extension, in the development of contemporary art. The year is considered the end of Picasso’s Rose Period, and included a chunk of time during which Picasso took a break from Paris and made a formative trip to the Catalan village of Gósol. Nov. 14 through March 4, 2024; museoreinasofia.es.