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Picasso's Communist Years Explored in May 20 Lecture by Gertje Utley

For Immediate Release

May 03, 2001

WILLIAMSTOWN, MA (May 3, 2001) - How did Pablo Picasso's political ties to the Communist Party affect his art? Gertje [pronounced "Gar-tuh"] R. Utley, author of the acclaimed book Picasso: The Communist Years, will speak about the artist's membership in the French Communist Party and his artistic endorsement of the Party's ideology at the Clark Art Institute on Sunday, May 20, at 3:00 p.m. Utley will be available to sign copies of her book, available at the Clark museum shop, immediately following her talk. Admission is free.

A native of Berlin, Germany, Utley is an independent scholar who has contributed essays to several studies of Picasso, including Picasso and the Spanish Tradition and the exhibition catalogue Picasso and the War Years: 1937-1945. Her book Picasso: The Communist Years, was published by Yale University Press in November. In an Art and Auction review critic David D'Arcy wrote, "Nothing written about this period in Picasso's career matches the focus and thoroughness of this carefully researched volume." The London Evening Standard chose it as one of the best art books of 2000. Utley and her husband, NBC correspondent Garrick Utley, were recently profiled in The New York Times.

When Picasso joined the French Communist Party in 1944, many observers thought it was a passing phase. However, he remained loyal to the party until his death in 1973. The works he produced during this period are generally regarded as among the weakest of his career. Utley's book recounts the relations between the Party and the artist widely considered the greatest of the twentieth century. She explores the role Picasso played within the Communist agenda, his financial and moral support, and his active participation in at Party events. Utley also addresses the contradictions of Picasso's loyalty in the face of the opposition to his art within the Pary.

The Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute is located at 225 South Street in Williamstown, Massachusetts.  The galleries are open Tuesday through Sunday, 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Admission is free through May.  For more information call 413-458-2303 or visit www.clarkart.edu.

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