WALK AMONG PICASSO'S MASTERPIECES
By Kate Yacula
The beloved Winnipeg Art Gallery (WAG) is hosting what is considered to be Picasso’s greatest graphic masterpiece, the Vollard Suite of Prints (c.1930-1937) along with many of his other famous works. The exhibit opened on May 13th and runs until August 13th. The collection of drawings shows a specific time when Picasso was immersed in sculpture and influenced by myth and the classical world.
Pablo Picasso isn’t just famous for having twenty-three names; he’s most well known for being a major 20th century artist- primarily for his Cubist masterpieces and printmaking. Some of his major works have had a significant influence on the fashion world.
First, let’s travel back in time to the 1920s where technology was developing at an extremely fast pace and artists, like Picasso, were taking advantage of the times and trying new techniques and styles with their art. At the same time, the fashion world was expressing an interest in the Cubist period. Garments began to take on interesting geometric prints, bright colours and had an overall modern look. Believe it or not, in 1955 Fuller Fabrics, an American textile company unveiled their Modern Masters collection where you could purchase a Picasso Fuller drip ’n’ dry dress for just $8.99! Picasso and his fellow colleagues Dali and Chagall were taking their designs to these new textiles. Talk about fashion on a budget and getting bang for your buck!
In more recent years, major couture designers have showcased Picasso’s influence in their work, including Balenciaga and Oscar de la Renta. Balenciaga’s 2012 spring collection used a variety of graphic shapes, metallic tones, and long over-sized pockets giving an overall futuristic and edgy look, while keeping with Picasso’s painting of modern cities and cylinder-like forms. Oscar de la Renta’s 2012 Resort Collection spotlighted The Picasso Newsprint Dress which incorporated the uneven edges and distorted shapes in his paintings.
In 2014, Jean Charles de Castlebac’s spring collection dressed his models with oversized prints designed with Picasso-like sketches and lines in primary colours. In 2015, a young French designer, Jacquemus, chose to paint a “second face” on his models for his AW25 show which mimicked Picasso’s famous mixed up faces perfectly.
Picasso’s presence is still strong today. One of the most recent examples you may have read about this year was hip hop artist Nicki Minaj who made waves on social media when she wore what she claimed was a Picasso inspired outfit. Minaj said her outfit was directly influenced by Picasso’s La Femme à l’Éventail painting. Whether she wore it because she is truly influenced by Picasso’s work or just to stir up the fashion, this is a perfect modern day example of the significant role art plays in trends and styles. So thank you Picasso, for giving us something to talk about!