Sun, Sea & Picasso – The First Day of Spring at The Louisiana Museum of Modern Art

We here in Scandinavia have had an unusually long winter – 5 1/2 months to be precise. 5 1/2 months of snow, sleet, rain, cold grey days.  This weekend the spell was broken, however. It was sunny at last. A proper spring day with sun and a chill in the air. All day I kept hearing the Beatles refrain in my head , “Here comes the sun . . .”

In honor of the lovely first day of spring we headed to one of our favorite indoor/outdoor spaces – The Lousiania Museum of Modern Art in Humlebæk, Denmark.

The museum sits on a bluff overlooking the Öresund Strait and enjoys sweeping lawns with an incredible display of sculpture, trees, flowers, sea breezes. Just visiting the grounds are worth it, but then there is the museum itself. Architecturally, the museum structure and grounds evoke Frank Lloyd Wright and his philosophy of bringing nature into the building. The museum is designed with lots of big windows whose function it is to bring nature inside the museum walls. It is a space that simply makes one feel calm, peaceful and good.

 

The grounds have sculptures scattered throughout. The sculptures are not placed haphazardly, however. The sculptures are specifically positioned in order to interact with the architecture and nature that surround them. The placements are precise and are designed to allow visitors to enjoy a different experience with each visit depending on the weather and the season.

We would have been happy just enjoying the sun and sea that day, but imagine our surprise when we arrived and discovered that there was a Picasso ceramics exhibit going on. This particular exhibit was named one of the top exhibits to see in 2018 by the New York Times and it does not disappoint.

fullsizeoutput_b40b.jpeg

In fact, it was stunning. One of the things I have always loved about Picasso is that his work is so dynamic and prolific –  his work encompasses traditional paintings, the cubists phase, sculpture and then his colorful, whimsical ceramics.  There are over 160 pieces on display and a lovely film offered with English subtitles about this particular creative period in Picasso’s life.

Picasso’s interest in ceramics began in the summer of 1946 when he attended an exhibition in Vallauris, France, an area known for making ceramics since Roman times. After WWII, and at at the height of his success, Picasso returned to Vallauris seeking new artistic experiences. The war had worn him down emotionally and he sought new challenges and inspiration artistically.  In this last period of his life he began to pick up clay and he immediately began experimenting with the materials, glazing techniques and processes. Apparently, Pcasso loved how unpredictable the firing process was on the clay and he enjoyed the resulting surprise of colors that emerged.

All in all, it is estimated that Picasso produced over 4,000 cera­mic objects during this time. It is said that one of the things that inspired him to create ceramics was the desire to put art in the hands and lives of the common man.  By turning utility objects like a platter or a water pitcher into an art piece, it allowed art to enter the every day world. So dedicated to the concept of making art available to all, Picasso created a line of work called Edition Picasso which were created specifically to be affordable. Picasso essentially served as the designer and allowed a ceramic workshop in Madoura, France to actually replicate each piece. This was one of the first (if not the first) times in art history that copies were mass produced based on an original work.  Picasso’s confidants advised him against this idea warning him that the practice would devalue his other works. Picasso soldiered on with the idea and from 1947 – 1971 he designed over 600 editions for the collection. And while initially affordable, once the artist died, the Edition Picasso ceramics went steadily up in price and did no damage at all to the value of Picasso’s other works.

 

If you are in the Copenhagen area and are looking for a unique museum experience as well as an outstanding collection of art, I highly recommend the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art. And if you are not in the area just now, keep a look out for the Picasso ceramic exhibit coming to a museum near you. You will not be disappointed.

12 Comments

  • Reply daisythebus April 12, 2018 at 12:26 pm

    This place has been to my to-do list for years, yet I always seem to miss it on my (sadly infrequent) trips to Scandinavia. Next time, for sure!

    Great, well-researched article. I was particularly interested to read about Picasso’s efforts to bring art into the realm of the common man through ceramics – I did not know that! Thanks!! #FarawayFiles

    • Reply Niche Travel Design April 12, 2018 at 12:52 pm

      It such a nice peaceful place. I did not know that about Picasso either until this exhibit. I love his whimsy.

  • Reply Esther April 12, 2018 at 2:33 pm

    Wow, this looks amazing! I am a great fan of works by Picasso, he’s such an interesting figure (on of the few artists who actually got stinking rich while alive). I always focus on his paintings and always seem to forget that he was such a gifted sculptor as well.
    #FarawayFiles

    • Reply Niche Travel Design April 12, 2018 at 2:40 pm

      I love how varied his work is. We were talking about how he was one of the few artists that got to enjoy his fame while alive. He had a very nice, full life.

  • Reply SeasonedTravelr, aka Jessica April 12, 2018 at 10:33 pm

    Wow, it looks absolutely lovely, especially with the sunny day. The Picasso portion seems super interesting, I had no idea he was also into ceramics! What a talented man. Thanks for sharing. #FarawayFiles

    • Reply Niche Travel Design April 13, 2018 at 1:20 pm

      It is a really lovely place. In every season, although autumn and spring are my favorite times to visit. Thanks for commenting. #farawayfiles

  • Reply Hilary April 13, 2018 at 5:51 pm

    What a fabulous museum! It looks like the type of place that one could spend hours exploring, and not even notice. #farawayfiles

    • Reply Niche Travel Design April 14, 2018 at 2:35 pm

      It is definitely my happy place when the Scandinavian weather gets this California girl down. And the added bonus of Picasso made my day.

  • Reply fifi + hop April 15, 2018 at 5:39 am

    When I fist read the title I thought this was going to be in the states! Love the idea of the Edition collection, allowing all to enjoy. Picasso was such a creative force…what an inspiring post. Thanks for linking up with #farawayfiles

    • Reply Niche Travel Design April 15, 2018 at 6:36 pm

      The first time I went I wondered about the name. Apparently, the owner had three wives over his lifetime and all were named Louise? I am now somewhat obsessed with the idea of scouring flea markets and estate sales in the south of France looking for some of the Edition Picasso pieces. One never knows what they may find . . . Thanks for reading. #farawayfiles

  • Reply oregongirlaroundtheworld April 17, 2018 at 6:06 pm

    We are so lucky to have Louisiana in our “backyard.” I love this museum and you are so correct that it is wonderful in any weather, but particularly lovely when the sun is out! The sculpture garden has an impressive collection of greats and sitting on that terrace in front of them and the serene Danish sea is sublime. I haven’t see the Picasso exhibit yet, but parents are here soon, hoping it’s still on. Thanks for sharing – loved this post! Cheers, Erin #FarawayFiles

    • Reply Niche Travel Design April 17, 2018 at 7:00 pm

      It is on until May 27th so you should be able to make it. I love Picasso so it was a special surprise for me. #farawayfiles

    Leave a Reply

    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.