Picasso and Rivera: Conversations Across Time

Exhibition Website

Dec 4 2016 - May 7 2017

Pablo Picasso and Diego Rivera were contemporaries, erstwhile competitors, equally ambitious and prolific as artists, internationally famous, and well aware of their larger-than-life personalities.

Picasso and Rivera: Conversations Across Time presents moments of intersection in the formation of modernism both in Europe and Latin America, and asks how these towering figures of the twentieth century engaged with their respective ancient Mediterranean and Pre-Columbian worlds. The exhibition compares their artistic trajectories beginning with their similar academic training to their shared investment in Cubism and their return to an engagement with antiquity from the 1920s through the 1950s. 

By placing 150 paintings, etchings, and watercolors in dialogue with each other and with singular ancient objects, Picasso and Rivera: Conversations Across Time aims to advance the understanding of Picasso and Rivera’s practice, particularly in how their contributions were deeply influenced by the forms, myths, and structures of the arts of antiquity.

Credit: Exhibition overview from museum website.

Whether or not you go, Picasso and Rivera: Conversations Across Time examines the artistic development of Pablo Picasso and Diego Rivera, two towering figures in the world of modern art, telling an intriguing story of ambition, competition, and how the ancient world inspired their most important work. The book explores explores the artistic dialogue between Pablo Picasso and Diego Rivera that spanned most of their careers, and showcases showcases nearly 150 iconic paintings, sculptures, and prints by both artists, along with objects from their native ancient Mediterranean and Pre- Columbian worlds. It gives an overview of their early training in national academies; important archaeological discoveries that occurred during their formative years; and their friendly and adversarial relationship in Montparnasse. 

A series of essays accompanies the exquisitely reproduced works, allowing readers to understand how the work of each artist was informed by artworks from the past. Picasso drew upon Classical art to shape the foundations of 20th-century art, creating images that were at once deeply personal and universal. Meanwhile, Rivera traded the abstractions of European modernism for figuration and references to Mexico’s Pre-Columbian civilization, focusing on public murals that emphasized his love of Mexico and his hopes for its future. Offering valuable insight into the trajectory of each artist, this book draws connections between two powerful figures who transformed modern art.

Picasso and Rivera: Conversations Across Time

  • International
  • 20th Century
  • Modernism
  • Pablo Picasso
  • Diego Rivera

Exhibition Venues & Dates