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June 25, 2010


Stunning Picassos find a new home at the McNay


The McNay Art Museum is pleased to announce the addition of two important paintings to its collection of works by the great 20th century Spanish master, Pablo Picasso (1881-1973). Both come as a bequest of Jeanne Lang Mathews from the collection she and her husband Irving Mathews, long-time benefactors of the McNay Art Museum, formed over many years.


The earlier of the two, Reclining Woman on the Beach is one of a number of paintings of the female form painted by Picasso at Boisgeloup in 1932 that were inspired by his then-companion Marie-Therèse Walter. It is a small variant of The Dreamer at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, currently on view through August 1 in the major exhibition “Picasso in the Metropolitan Museum of Art”. A related work of the same year, Nude, Green Leaves and Bust, recently sold at auction at a record price for the artist.


According to Pepe Karmel, Ph.D., Chairman of the Department of Art History at New York University, the Mathews painting is one of several that Karmel characterizes as “a series of miniature variations on the great erotic nudes of 1932, one of the high points of the artist’s career.”


The second painting from the Mathews bequest is Crouching Woman of 1958. According to Karmel, it is an exceptionally good Picasso of this later period and is closely related to the sheet-metal sculptures Picasso made during this time. These were the subject of the 2009 exhibition Picasso’s Late Sculpture: Women: The Collection in Context at the Museo Picasso in Malaga, Spain.


The two paintings add greater range and depth to the McNay’s holdings of Picasso, that already include masterworks from Mrs. McNay’s collection such as the early painting Woman with a Plumed Hat, 1901, and the seminal Cubist collage Guitar and Wine Glass, 1912, as well as the much-loved painting Portrait of Sylvette, 1954, from the collection of Tom Slick. The total Picasso holdings of the museum number over 90 works, including painting, drawings, prints, sculpture and ceramics.


“This bequest continues a long tradition of generosity to the McNay begun by Jeanne Lang Mathews’ parents, Mary and Sylvan Lang, and continued over many years by Jeanne and her husband Irving Mathews,” says director Chiego, “the museum is very fortunate to have had such loyal donors to help us build such a superb permanent collection.”


The two new acquisitions will go on view shortly in the Lang Galleries at the McNay Art Museum.


Images: Pablo Picasso, Reclining Woman on the Beach, 1932. Oil on canvas.

Pablo Picasso, Crouching Woman, 1958. Oil on canvas


The McNay

Built by artist and educator Marion Koogler McNay in the 1920s, the Spanish Colonial Revival residence opened as Texas’s first museum of modern art in 1954. Today more than 100,000 visitors a year enjoy works by modern masters including Paul Gauguin, Vincent van Gogh, Edward Hopper, Georgia O’Keeffe, Pablo Picasso, Jackson Pollock, and Pierre-Auguste Renoir.  In June 2008, the museum opened the 45,000-square-foot Jane and Arthur Stieren Center for Exhibitions designed by internationally renowned French architect Jean-Paul Viguier. Nearly doubling the McNay’s exhibition space, the Stieren Center includes three separate outdoor sculpture galleries.



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