The Picasso Century opens in Melbourne

July 1, 2022

The National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) has hosted the world premiere of ‘The Picasso Century’ exhibition, which opened on 10 June and will run to 9 October, as part of their Melbourne Winter Masterpieces series.

Exclusively developed for the NGV by the Centre Pompidou and the Musée national Picasso-Paris, the exhibition explores the world of Pablo Picasso – his relationships, influences and encounters throughout each seminal period of his career.

“The exhibition will be devoted to not only Picasso, but to Picasso in context; it means that Picasso is the major figure of the 20th century, and the show will explain why Picasso is so versatile. Picasso was always exchanging his surroundings.” Says Didier Ottinger, Deputy Director of Centre Pompidou, National Museum of Modern Art, Paris, who curated the exhibition for the NGV.

Pablo Picasso; Portrait of a woman (Portrait de femme) 1938 oil on canvas 98.0 × 77.5 cm Centre Pompidou, Paris, Musée national d’art moderne-Centre de création industrielle Gift of the artist, 1947 (AM 2729 P) © Succession Picasso/Copyright Agency, 2022. Photo: © Centre Pompidou, MNAM-CCI/Georges Meguerditchian/Dist. RMN-GP. Courtesy of the National Gallery of Victoria.

Over the last 12 months the visual arts licensing team has worked closely with the NGV and Succession Picasso, the late artist’s estate whom the Copyright Agency represents in both Australia and New Zealand, to licence our members works across publications, merchandise, marketing, advertising and digital uses. The show follows Picasso’s early life in Spain, to his pilgrimage into the French bohemian capital, Montmartre, where he gained traction as a leading modern artist in the early 1900s, and his later life, where he settled in the French Riviera.

Ten years in the making, the exhibition offers 170 works, with more than 70 from Picasso, plus works from contemporaries who either influenced him or were a part of his life: including Salvador Dali, Henry Matisse, and Alberto Giacometti plus many more.  Cecile Debray, President of the Musée National Picasso Paris, explains: “Picasso is not a single genius without any sources or influences, but an artist involved in his time, politically, personally, and of course artistically.”

NGV Design Store Library Bags featuring Pablo Picasso’s Guitar ‘J’aime Eva’ (Guitare ‘J’aime Eva’), 1912 and Bust of a man wearing a hat (Buste d’homme au chapeau), 1969 © Succession Picasso/Copyright Agency, 2022. Art Director/Producer/Stylist: Emma Byrne, Photographer: Victoria Zschommler.

Some of the 60 artists featured in the exhibition may be lesser known to Australian audiences, due to rarely being exhibited here, which adds to this unique experience only to be found at the NGV.  Many of the other artists featured in the exhibition are also Copyright Agency members and like Picasso, we licensed the uses of their works, including for a children’s book.

The exhibition will run at the NGV until October 9. For tickets and further information, visit the NGV website here.


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