Donation brings first Picasso painting to art museum
The Princeton University Art Museum has acquired Pablo Picasso's 1964 painting "Tête d'homme et nu assis" ("Man's Head and Seated Nude") through a donation by 1957 alumnus and noted collector Gregory Callimanopulos. The gift marks the museum's most significant single donation in recent years and the first painting by Picasso to enter its collection.
"The donation of a painting by an artist of Picasso's stature is an extraordinary act of generosity by this distinguished alumnus and collector," said President Shirley M. Tilghman. "Our University community is grateful to Gregory Callimanopulos for enhancing our collections with this important gift, which is certain to command the attention of students, scholars and visitors alike for years to come."
"Tête d'homme et nu assis," which is a portrait of a man's head next to a seated nude woman, is now on display at the museum.
Callimanopulos and the museum have enjoyed a long relationship, which was revived during the organization of last year's exhibition "'57 Collects: A 50th Anniversary Celebration." The exhibition -- organized by Karl Kusserow, assistant curator of later Western art, with a committee of class of 1957 alumni -- highlighted the substantial collecting achievements of the class and encouraged the donation of works of art from its members.
Callimanopulos had lent a different painting by Picasso, also a portrait of a woman, to "'57 Collects." When the museum approached Callimanopulos about the possibility of a long-term loan of the work, noting the absence of a Picasso painting from the museum's otherwise rich collection, he raised the possibility of the museum acquiring its own. He purchased "Tête d'homme et nu assis" for the museum at auction in New York.
The museum, currently celebrating its 125th anniversary, is among the country's oldest and most distinguished academic museums. It features an encyclopedic collection of art spanning several millennia and cultures. The acquisition of a painting by Picasso, one of the 20th century's most important and influential artists, fills a major gap in the museum's collection of modern art.
"This most welcome acquisition is especially useful in advancing the museum's mission as a teaching institution, as it engages so many themes central to Picasso's work -- gender relations and the relationship between artist and subject, creator and muse, chief among them -- and it does so with a spontaneity, a vibrancy, and above all an economy of means that vividly demonstrate Picasso's genius," said Kusserow.