Special exhibitions
Yoku Moku Museum commemorative opening
Picasso: Life on the Côte d’Azur


The Yoku Moku Museum’s presentation of the commemorative exhibition Picasso: Life on the Côte d’Azur is now in progress. Welcoming the Picasso researcher Hiromi Matsui, an associate professor at the University of Kobe, as the exhibition’s overall supervisor, this presentation introduces the world of ceramic art the artist produced with burning enthusiasm in the period following the end of World War II. Here, you will get a sense of Picasso’s life on the creative stage that the Côte d’Azur, in the south of France, became for him, and of his desire to strive for peace through the production of ceramics.

Exhibition period:
Sunday, October 25, 2020 through Sunday, September 26, 2021.
Museum-closing days: Mondays; the New Year holiday period; and periods between exhibitions.
※ However, if a national holiday falls on a Monday, the museum will be open on that date.

Mondays, Year-end and the New Year holidays, Exhibition installation period
*excepting for the Tuesday after a public holiday on Monday and October 26, 2020

Normal operating time:
10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
※ Last admission: 30 minutes prior to closing time.

Admission-ticket prices:
Ordinary ticket: ¥1200 (tax included)
Students: ¥800 (tax included)
Elementary-school students and younger children: Free
※ If a visitor presents a disabled person’s identification card, he or she, along with one accompanying guest, may enter free of charge.
※In order to prevent infection by and the spread of disease associated with the coronavirus, it is possible that this information might be modified.

Related events: As soon as event details have been confirmed, they will be made known via the museum’s website.


Introducing the world of Picasso’s ceramics

After the end of World War II, the 65-year-old Picasso left boisterous Paris and set up a new living and working base on the Côte d’Azur, in the south of France. There, he began his full-blown production of ceramics. Producing everyday objects whose shapes he transformed, spinning artistic expressions out of and inspired by his relationships with his lovers, giving birth to artistic motifs related to his concept of the Mediterranean region — the exhibition introduces these various approaches and the new methods of artistic expression one may encounter in Picasso’s world of ceramic art.

Introducing the notion of peace with which Picasso’s ceramic works are imbued and their aesthetic context

Enraged by the bombing during the Spanish Civil War by German Nazis and Italian fascists, at the request of the Spanish Nationalist leader Francisco Franco, of the small Basque town of Guernica, in 1937, Picasso painted “Guernica.” Before long, this work became an anti-war symbol. Because of this and other experiences, Picasso became more assertively involved in the peace movement. Now, maintaining the qualities of artistic works and being able to produce ceramic works in quantity began to occupy an important place in Picasso’s thinking, along with his ideological concerns. The exhibition introduces us to the way in which Picasso infused his ceramic works with a sense of peace or harmony.

Related events, to be held from time to time

Details about such events will be made available on this website.

In addition, as the exhibition’s run continues, we are planning some other exhibitions that will examine in depth some of Picasso’s techniques and artistic motifs. We are pleased to note that these exhibitions, which will be presented sequentially, will offer everyone a comprehensive introduction to Picasso’s production of ceramic art.

Structure of the exhibition

BF: Basement-floor exhibition gallery

Section Ⅰ: The transformation of everyday objects

Human faces and images of animals proliferate on the water jugs, plates, and everyday household pottery on which Picasso set his sights and that passed through his hands, and which he transformed into works of art. Featuring a range of familiar materials, they offer evidence of Picasso’s creative power.

Obtaining plates, flower vases, and other basic-shape objects that had been molded in clay by craftsmen, Picasso, while learning about ceramic-making techniques, used a spatula-like tool to incise into them and glaze to draw pictures on them. On the one hand, it is thanks to hints provided by such creative works that we have come to know both the craftsman’s side of Picasso and the world beyond the contemporary West that he got to know and that he cherished. In this way, throughout his completed body of work related to everyday objects, Picasso intended to surprise and delight us by calling attention to the theme of the everyday itself.

Section Ⅱ: The transformation of artistic life

After the end of World War II, Picasso felt a sense of liberation following the cessation of hostilities, grief about the devastation that had been caused by the war, and a sense of weariness about life in Paris and the forming of a new family. Big changes were taking place in Picasso’s own spirit, and they were reflected in his work. This section of the exhibition introduces the Picasso who, while enjoying a sense of serenity in the warm climate of the south of France, began thinking more deeply about the responsibilities of the artist in society, even as he was troubled by his complex relationships with women and devoted himself to his interaction with his friends and with craftsmen.

In particular, due to his experiences during wartime and having woken up to an understanding of the importance of the relationship between artists and society, he engaged in the production of limited editions of ceramic works along with craftsmen in Vallauris (a town in southern France), who were steeped in tradition. Moreover, through donations of his own works to museums, he endeavored to break down the image of the artist who turns his back on society.

Section Ⅲ:Turmoil of the times

Painted in 1937, prior to the outbreak of the Second World War, Picasso’s “Guernica” was a protest work made in solidarity with the rebel forces and their allies who opposed the Nazis’ bombing raid on the town of Guernica, in northwestern Spain’s Basque region. Painted in an extremely radical style, it was not a so-called easy-to-understand work of art. However, before long, after being exhibited in Europe and America, it became recognized as an anti-war symbol.

The Picasso who experienced such conditions during wartime became aware of the importance of the artist’s communication with society. Following the liberation of Paris in 1944, Picasso declared his own “political existence” and became more deeply involved in the pro-peace movement. Having been fond of it from an early age, out of his support for a postwar peace conference emerged his frequent use of the white-dove and dove motifs, which appeared in his ceramic works, directly conveying his wish for peace.

In fact, his feeling of a desire for a relationship with society actually helped boost his production of ceramic works. As for Picasso, he regarded the ceramics craftsmen he knew as honorable workers in society, whose magical use of earth and fire led to surprises that could affect people’s everyday lives.

To allow for the discovery of surprises and delights in everyday life — this was something empathetic toward those who supported a peaceful society. No matter how much the character of the times kept changing, Picasso continued bringing a power of persuasion to the ideas with which he imbued his ceramic works.

2F: Second-floor exhibition gallery

Please experience the artworks in a space filled with natural light.

About the Yoku Moku Collection

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