Primitive Picasso

Quai Branly


28 MAR 2017 - 23 JUL 2017
Exhibit content
Exhibit set-up
Text panels
Visitor recommended
Overall visit

“Negro art? Don’t know it.” It was with this provocative tone that the Andalusian painter, sculptor and graphic artist made a point of denying his relationship with non-European art. However, and as his personal collection demonstrates, the arts of Africa, Oceania, the Americas and Asia never ceased to accompany him in all his various studios. The documents, letters, objects and photographs brought together in the first part of the exhibition and displayed chronologically, are evidence of this, demonstrating Picasso’s interests and curiosity about non-Western creation. In a second, more conceptual section, Primitive Picasso offers a comparative view of the artist’s works with those of non-Western artists, and leans more towards an anthropology of art than an analysis of aesthetic relationships. The resulting confrontation reveals the similar issues those artists have had to address (nudity, sexuality, impulses and loss) through parallel plastic solutions (deforming or deconstructing bodies, for example). Primitive art, therefore, is no longer considered to be a stage of non-development, but rather an access to the deepest, most fundamental layers of the human being.

Visitor Reviews

H. Timothy

H. Timoth...

If you like Picasso you'll like this show
05 Jun, 2017

It was George Braque who said "[African] masks opened me up to new horizons. They allowed me to get in touch with what's instinctive." It's clear the same went for his friend Pablo. Look at the photographs of Picasso in his various studios and you'll invariably find an African mask or two on the floor or on the walls. I thought it was amazing to have one of the major influences of our coveted Picasso laid out before us.

H. Aurelie

H. Aureli...

Je ne m'attendais pas à ces parallèles
20 May, 2017

La première partie est joliment mise en scène, mais je trouve qu'il manquait un fil conducteur. Certes c'est chronologique et il y a plein de citations/témoignages mais il manque une réelle histoire. La deuxième partie est très impressionnante, les parallèles entre Picasso et les arts primitifs sont absolument frappants et il est assez incroyable de pouvoir confronter les œuvres du maître et ses inspirations en les contemplant côte à côte. Il y avait beaucoup d'enfants, et bien que la première partie ne soit pas idéale pour eux, ils pouvaient vraiment s'amuser à comparer dans la deuxième. Ma fille de 5 ans m'a dit : "c'était cool sauf que c'était un petit peu trop long et qu'il faisait un petit peu trop froid. J'ai préféré les dessins simples et colorés et la 'statue' qui était assise sur une chaise cassée."

A. Caroline

A. Caroli...

An immersion into the primitive arts which influen
10 Apr, 2017

A deep dive into the art which influenced Picasso's art. I loved this exhibit though practically the detailed accounts of the different eras and acquisitions of Picass nin the first part of the exhibit made it difficult, at time of great affluence, to enjoy the exhibit. The second part is much more open.