Crowds Turn Out For Largest Picasso Exhibit In Hong Kong History

Exhibition Running At Hong Kong Heritage Museum Through June 22

“Le déjeuner sur l’herbe” d’après Manet (1960)

Running now through the end of June, the largest-ever exhibition of works by Picasso to ever hit Hong Kong, “Masterpieces from the Musee National Picasso, Paris” gives local art lovers the rare opportunity to see 48 oil paintings and seven sculptures by the Spanish-born master. Covering a wide spectrum of the artist’s most famous periods — Blue, Rose, Cubist and Neo-Classical — the exhibition also includes some of his primitive and Expressionist works as well as photography and film.

Musee National Picasso curator Anne Baldassari recently said she was excited to show the exhibition, which has previously traveled to the United States, Australia, Shanghai and Chengdu, in mainland China and Hong Kong. Said Baldassari, “Picasso was very impressed by the way Chinese painters were considering art as a language and painting as a sign, and not as a representation…Because he was fighting against the idea of representation, he was always looking at Chinese painting (and) African sculpture as a main reference.”

The exhibition is on show at the Hong Kong Heritage Museum — which the New York Times notes “is less known than the art and history museums, [and] is housed in a pleasant Chinese courtyard complex on a riverside spot slightly outside downtown” — through June 22. The exhibition runs as part of the city’s ongoing Le French May festival, which celebrates its 20th anniversary this year and includes art exhibitions, French music and dance, fashion and fine dining.

The exhibition includes "Le sculpteur" from 1931

Running at the same time as several spring auctions, this Picasso exhibition will undoubtedly rake up the question of whether Hong Kong art buyers are developing a greater interest in Western art. But while some are placing bets that Chinese collectors will follow in the footsteps of Japanese buyers, who spent much of the 1980s scouring the globe for Warhols, Picassos and even Renoirs, not everyone is convinced. As Sotheby’s Asia chairman Patti Wong recently pointed out, Chinese collectors, like all new collectors, remain fixated upon Chinese artists as “all cultures start with their own art.” On the strength of growing demand, new Chinese collectors and even more established “super-collectors” have, in the space of only three years, turned the Chinese contemporary art market on its head, pushing out many of the formerly dominant Western collectors who originally cultivated the segment a decade ago. This surging demand has fueled a “second boom” in the Chinese art world, pushing prices for blue-chip artists to new highs in the years following the dip seen after the global economic crisis.

Still, even if they’re not buying Picassos, crowds in Hong Kong are certainly interested in looking at them — the New York Times recommends booking tickets online well in advance.

Masterpieces from the Musee National Picasso, Paris
Running through June 22, 2012
Hong Kong Heritage Museum
1 Man Lam Road, Sha Tin, Hong Kong
Tickets: HK$20 (US$2.60)
Ticket information & inquiries: 2734 9009 / 2111 5999.


Art & Design, Market Analysis