The story of Evansville's Picasso piece is wild, and soon we will be able to see it on display at the Evansville Museum.

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Pablo Picasso

Pablo Picasso was one of the most influential artists of his time.  Picasso is well known for his unique style and is credited for being one of the creators of Cubism.

Pablo Picasso (born October 25, 1881, Málaga, Spain—died April 8, 1973, Mougins, France) Spanish expatriate painter, sculptor, printmaker, ceramicist, and stage designer, one of the greatest and most-influential artists of the 20th century and the creator (with Georges Braque) of Cubism(Britannica) 

Picasso's work often fetches a lot of money, so the fact that we have a piece of his work in Evansville is pretty neat.  However, the story of Evansville's Picasso painting is pretty wild.

Pablo Picasso
Getty Images (Photo by George Stroud/Getty Images)

Unknowingly Lost for Decades

Lately, I've been seeing a lot of talk about a Picasso painting that will soon be on display in Evansville at the Evansville Museum of Arts, History, and Science.  Having artwork from an artist of that caliber is huge for our city, but why has it taken so long to display this artwork?  The story behind this Picasso piece in Evansville is pretty wild.

Below is a photo of one of Picasso's paintings just before going up for auction in 2018. 

Sotheby's Impressionist Press Call
Getty Images for Sotheby's . (Photo by Ian Gavan/Getty Images)

When doing some Googling I came across an NPR article from 2012.  This specific Picasso painting had been in storage for decades and was mislabeled.   The painting in question is called "Seated Woman with Red Hat" (pictured below) and it was labeled as being done by an artist named "Gemmaux"  but that is not a name, that happens to be the plural of the technique used in this particular painting so the painting had been miscataloged for years.

That technique, gemmail, uses layered glass to create 3-D art. The work remained miscataloged for more than 40 years, until Bower got a call from Guernsey's auction house in New York. They were doing research on the special glass technique Picasso used and had tracked one of the works to Evansville. (NPR)

The original plan was to sell the painting as having a piece of art worth as much money as a Picasso piece would be very costly to display.  The reason for this is that there has to be proper security measures in place, climate control for the artwork, and a proper display case to keep the piece safe.  A New York Times article states that this would be much too costly for our museum, and could potentially cause financial issues. For this reason, the decision was made to sell the rare Picasso piece.

However, more than a decade later, news has gotten around that the community will finally get to see this rare Picasso painting on display at our local museum.

 Pablo Picasso to be Displayed at Evansville Museum

On March 11th, 2024 more than a decade after we learned of the surprise Picasso was found at the Evansville Museum, we got word that the artwork will finally be on display in Evansville. 


While I'm not sure what happened to selling the painting, I'm certainly glad things have worked out in this way.  In a post to Facebook the Evansville Museum says that they've received a grant that will allow for proper measures to be taken to finally be able to display the incredibly rare piece of artwork.

IDDC Grant Announcement and Picasso Plans
The Evansville Museum of Arts, History & Science is pleased to announce we have received a grant from the Indiana Destination Development Corporation in the amount of $52,658. The funds from this grant, as well as gifts from private donors, will assist our efforts to expand our gallery space, update the security systems and create a proper viewing space to feature the glass mosaic by Pablo Picasso. The Evansville Museum of Arts, History & Science understands that there is much excitement and anticipation throughout our local community and the state to see this unique piece of art on display.
The Picasso glass mosaic will be displayed with other major works of art in the Museum’s collection. A newly renovated gallery space at the Museum will include paintings, prints, sculptures, drawings and mixed media created by artists from around the world. This will allow visitors to view a wider range of artworks and experience more of the Museum’s permanent collections.
You can see the full post here, and keep an eye out for updates as to when this incredible piece of art history will be on display!

LOOK: Which movies were filmed in Indiana?

Stacker compiled a list of movies filmed in Indiana using data from Movie Locations, with additional information about each film collected from IMDb.

Gallery Credit: Stacker

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