Expressive Picasso Artworks That Don’t Need Color

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Would Pablo Picasso’s Weeping Woman look more somber if every surface of her body wasn’t garlanded with festive colors? Would his mistress Marie-Thérèse Walter look less sensual if her curves were monochromatic instead of pale fleshy pink? Opening tomorrow at the Guggenheim, Picasso Black and White focuses on the legendary artist’s work in black, white, and gray — with the occasional hint of yellow or blue. Organized chronologically along the Guggenheim’s spiraling ramps, the show runs through January 23rd and features 118 paintings, sculptures, and works on paper from 1904 to 1971, including six pieces on public view for the first time. From his devastating reflections on the atrocities of war to his opulent meditations on the female form and its various details, preview some highlights from the exhibition in our slideshow.

The Maids of Honor (Las Meninas, after Velázquez) (Les Ménines, vue d’ensemble, d’après Velázquez) La Californie, August 17, 1957. Oil on canvas, 194 x 260 cm. Museu Picasso, Barcelona, Gift of the artist, 1968. © 2012 Estate of Pablo Picasso/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Gassull Fotografia

Man, Woman, and Child (Homme, femme et enfant). Paris, fall 1906. Oil on canvas, 115.5 x 88.5 cm. Kunstmuseum Basel, Gift of the artist to the City of Basel, 1967. © 2012 Estate of Pablo Picasso/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Martin P. Bühler/ Kunstmuseum Basel

Accordionist (L’accordéoniste) Céret, summer 1911. Oil on canvas, 130.2 x 89.5 cm. Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, Solomon R. Guggenheim Founding Collection, By gift © 2012 Estate of Pablo Picasso/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Kristopher McKay © The Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, New York

Man with Pipe (L’homme à la pipe) Paris, May 1923. Oil, pencil, and india ink on canvas, 130 x 97 cm. Private collection, Courtesy Fundación Almine y Bernard Ruiz-Picasso para el Arte. © 2012 Estate of Pablo Picasso/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Eric Baudouin

The Milliner’s Workshop (Atelier de la modiste), Paris, January 1926. Oil on canvas. 172 x 256 cm. Musée national d’art moderne/Centre de création industrielle, Centre Pompidou, Paris, Gift of the artist, 1947. ©2012 Estate of Pablo Picasso/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: CNAC/MNAM/Dist. Réunion des Musées Nationaux/Art Resource, NY

Bust of a Woman (Marie-Thérèse) (Buste de femme [Marie-Thérèse]). Boisgeloup, 1931. Plaster, 78 x 46 x 48 cm. Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Herbert Klapper, New York. © 2012 Estate of Pablo Picasso/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Courtesy Acquavella Galleries

Marie-Thérèse, Face and Profile (Marie-Thérèse, face et profil). Paris, 1931. Oil and charcoal on canvas, 111 x 81 cm. Private collection © 2012 Estate of Pablo Picasso/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Béatrice Hatala

Study for Sculpture of a Head (Marie-Thérèse) (Étude pour sculpture d’une tête [Marie-Thérèse]). Boisgeloup, summer 1932. Charcoal on canvas, 92 x 73 cm. Fondation Beyeler, Riehen/Basel. © 2012 Estate of Pablo Picasso/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Peter Schibli, Basel

Mother with Dead Child II, Postscript to Guernica(Femme avec enfant mort II, Post-scriptum à Guernica). Grands-Augustins, Paris, September 26, 1937. Oil on canvas, 130 x 195 cm. Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid, Bequest of the artist. © 2012 Estate of Pablo Picasso/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: © Archivo fotográfico Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid

The Kitchen (La cuisine). Grands-Augustins, Paris, November 9, 1948. Oil on canvas, 175.3 x 250 cm. The Museum of Modern Art, New York, Acquired through the Nelson A. Rockefeller Bequest, 1980. © 2012 Estate of Pablo Picasso/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: The Museum of Modern Art/Licensed by SCALA/Art Resource, NY