John Finlay. Picasso, Theatre and the Monument to ...


John Finlay. Picasso, Theatre and the Monument to Apollinaire

Guitar Player at a Café Table

Guitar Player at a Café Table, 1913, no longer extant. Photograph probably taken by Pablo Picasso, Détail du négatif verre N°102. Private collection © Succession Picasso, 2016

Statues Vivantes: Picasso, theatre and the monument to Apollinaire

My paper examines the formal and symbolic connections between Picasso’s theatrical work and his sculptural projects for the Apollinaire monument. In acknowledging time-honoured concepts of “living sculpture”, the “surreal” costume-sculptures of Parade (1917), Mercure (1924) and the proposed memorial, key influences were the poetic and literary works of Apollinaire. Picasso’s monument also relied heavily on the technical innovations established during the artist’s involvement with theatre and ballet. Subsequently, I put forward the relatively unexplored idea that the theatre exerted great influence on the Picasso’s monumental projects, and his concept of living/moving sculpture thereafter.


Statues Vivantes : Picasso, le théâtre et le monument à Apollinaire

Cette recherche se concentre sur les connexions symboliques et formelles entre le travail théâtral de Picasso et ses projets de sculpture pour le monument à Apollinaire. En prenant en compte les concepts consacrés de « sculpture vivante », de costumes-sculptures « surréalistes » des ballets Parade (1917), Mercure (1924), et le projet de monument, les influences majeures résidaient dans le travail littéraire et poétique d’Apollinaire. Le monument de Picasso est aussi très fortement lié aux innovations techniques réalisées par l’artiste au temps son implication dans les arts scéniques. En conséquence, cette étude met en avant l’idée relativement peu explorée que le théâtre a exercé une forte influence sur les projets de monuments de Picasso, et ensuite sur son idée de sculptures vivantes ou mouvantes.

John Finlay received his PhD on Picasso from the Courtauld Institute of Art, London (1998). He is an independent historian specializing in French twentieth-century modern art. International journals to which he has contributed include the Burlington Magazine, where he recently published an article on flight and Picasso’s prewar Cubism (July 2016, pp. 522–561). His book Picasso’s World was published by Carlton Books (London) and Larousse (as Le Monde de Picasso) in 2011. A second edition will be published in 2017. Pop! (Goodman Books) was published in 2016. Finlay is presently engaged in a full study titled Picasso: Essential Sculpture, 1912–1935. He lives in Edinburgh, Scotland.

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