Published in conjunction with the exhibition of the same title at the Musée du Quai Branly in Paris (28 March-23 July 2017), Picasso Primitivo shows how Picasso and non-Western artists saw eye to eye in the expression of universal archaisms and how they explored the power of images and the force of the subconscious.
We all know how important so-called “primitive” art – the traditional arts of Africa and Oceania – was for Picasso. Would Les Demoiselles d’Avignon even exist without this key source of inspiration? Would we ever have known cubism, the most significant movement of the early 20 th – century avant-gardes and which demolished the codified rules of artistic portrayal? Picasso’s relationship with the arts of Africa and Oceania dates from 1907 when he acquired the first work in his collection, a Tiki from the Marquesas Islands. That was the year Picasso first visited the Trocadéro ethnographic museum. He was so struck that he returned to Les Demoiselles d’Avignon and finished the picture that was to revolutionise 20 th -century painting.