Picasso’s Largest Painting on View in France

4 June 2012

The Pompidou Center Metz is offering a rare opportunity to view Pablo Picasso’s largest known painting, a stage curtain measuring over 34 feet by 54 feet, which he created for the avant-garde ballet “Parade” in 1917.

It is the centerpiece of “1917,” a new exhibition that explores art produced during that year.

The image on the curtain shows a group of performers on a theatrical stage, some with their backs turned, apparently waiting for their show to start. A winged mare stands to the left with a suckling foal and a fairy perched on its back. While the iconography of the scene has never been fully deciphered, the fairy is generally believed to be Olga Khokhlova, the Ballets Russes dancer whom Picasso met on the set of “Parade” and soon married. A monkey that she is reaching up to is believed to be the painter’s representation of himself.

Because of its size, the curtain is seldom removed from the vaults of the Pompidou Center in Paris: it was last viewed in France in 1992 and was shown at the Brooklyn Museum in 1984.

The exhibition shows works from public, private, art and military collections, both French and international.

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