© 2024 Texas Public Radio
Real. Reliable. Texas Public Radio.
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

San Antonio Museum of Art: Picasso Like You've Never Seen Him

You expect to see Picassos in an art museum, but I found 14 of them at the San Antonio Museum of Art, quite un-like what you’d expect.

“Some of Picasso’s most iconic paintings translated into a totally different media; the historic technique of tapestries.”

That’s SAMA’s Chief Curator, William Keyes Rudolph. With Picasso’s permission, in the 1950s, New York Governor Nelson Rockefeller commissioned these tapestries to be woven.

"Rockefeller was a great lover of modern art, particularly Picasso.”

Disagreement in the three-tier creation process wasn’t uncommon.

“Rockefeller’s office would say ‘but it’s getting a little big’ and the weaver’s office would come back and say ‘but Picasso insists it MUST be big!’ So it’s a great clash of the titans, as it were.”

I suspect you don’t tell Picasso, sorry that’s too big. Rudoph disagreed.

“I think if you’re a Rockefeller, you do. And I think he did. And you know, in some cases I think he had his way, and in other cases, Picasso had his way.”

Was creating modern art with the old art form of tapestry an edgy thing to do?

“It was an interesting way of giving a new spin on an old art form, and creating something, and creating something totally modern all at the same time.”

Rudolph has now brought these tapestries from the Rockefeller family home, and they will be exhibited starting Saturday, until March 8.

“These tapestries are bold and large, and you can get incredibly close and see fascinating detail in the weaving. But also you can stand back from a distance and just be overwhelmed with the dynamic compositions.”

I've seen them and I can tell you they are quite stunning. We have more here.

Jack Morgan can be reached at jack@tpr.org and on Twitter at @JackMorganii