Picasso Comes to St. Augustine

You know Pablo Picasso as an artist.  After my time with him at the St. Augustine Visitor’s Center, I know him as a painter, sculptor, revolutionary, father, author and a ladies’ man! Make time for Picasso: Art & Arena while the exhibit is here in St. Augustine, Florida and become acquainted with Picasso in this historic, intimate setting.

Image property of c2013 Estate of Pablo Picasso / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Of course I didn’t actually meet Pablo Picasso.  Born in 1881 in Malaga, Spain, Picasso painted through the turbulent 1900s until his death in France in 1973.  Through my time in the St. Augustine exhibit, however, I watched him paint in a Belgian film by  Paul Haesaert and saw this genius at work.  Exploring a timeline of his life, I learned he had long-term relationships with 5 women and had a child younger than a grandchild!  Of course I knew there must be more to this man than I was taught in school… but I never expected to learn so much  from one small exhibit!

Image property of c2013 Estate of Pablo Picasso / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

The exhibit is arranged as a Plaza del Torros- a bullfighting arena.  Most of the 39 works displayed here are centered around the common theme of a bull fight.  And it’s noteworthy that this is the first time many of these pieces have come from Picasso’s birthplace in Spain to be exhibited here in the States!

Image property of c2013 Estate of Pablo Picasso / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

One thing I learned about Pablo Picasso from this exhibit was his innovation in art & technique.  For example, he was the first artist to reuse a single stone in a series of lithographs- as seen in the bull series above.  The knowledgeable docents can teach so much better than I- feel free to ask questions and read each informative sign as you take it all in.

Image property of c2013 Estate of Pablo Picasso / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

As a mom of littles and a teacher, the pieces that I was most drawn to were Picasso’s books.  Eccentric Picasso wrote the abstract book (above) just like he painted… as thoughts, lines and feelings came to him.  So the text is basically gibberish- a conglomeration of words without unified meaning.  I was surprised by this boldness and seeming arrogance but was told this is a prime example of Surrealism- the text is seen as a visual element.  So we are to view this not as a story but as a work of art.

One of the most notable pieces in the exhibit- if it’s possible to narrow such a collection down- is the intact book illustrated by Picasso (below).  As with most of Picasso’s works, there is a story behind his illustrations.  He was enthralled by the metaphor present in bull fighting.  Life.  Death.  Struggle and victory.

Image property of c2013 Estate of Pablo Picasso / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

You’ll exit through a gift shop like every other attraction in St. Augustine.  But, like the art exhibit, the shop’s collection had some pleasant surprises…

Image property of c2013 Estate of Pablo Picasso / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

One of my favorite children’s books of all time is The Story of Ferdinand by Munro Leaf.  Sold here because of it’s bull fighting theme, let’s just say Picasso’s matador friend would not have wanted to face this bull!

Image property of c2013 Estate of Pablo Picasso / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

And I adore these avant garde mannequins… I can see one in an office or playroom.  {Honey, time to redecorate!?!}

Image property of c2013 Estate of Pablo Picasso / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

When you see these signs (below) around town, don’t just walk by!  Stop and see what’s happening in our city and take advantage of some amazing opportunities!  {If you’re new to town, get to know the city through a walking tour! More info & St. Augustine Walking Tour discount code <-on that post.}  

St. Augustine brought Picasso here to provide educational opportunities for our students and to invest in the regional- even state wide- artist community.  Make experiencing the Picasso exhibit  a priority this Spring!  Viva St. Augustine!

Image property of c2013 Estate of Pablo Picasso / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

PICASSO Art & Arena
St. Augustine Visitor Center
10 W. Castillo Drive
February 1 – May 11, 2013 9am-5pm daily
$10 adults, $8 seniors, $5 kids 7-12, $20 for a family of four
Children under 6, Flagler College students & military in uniform free 

6 comments


  • That’s lame there are other colleges in St. Augustine besides Flagler!

    February 17, 2013
    • I’m guessing it’s because of their partnership. You could ask sweetly while showing your student ID… ??

      February 18, 2013
  • Mike G

    A wonderful exhibit, made all the more interesting by our volunteer docent. Truly worth the time to stop by and see it. Our group of 4 enjoyed it so much and thanks to the visitors center and particularly our docent – don’t know his name, but was a scientist or computer guy who seemed to thoroughly enjoy all the tidbits and background of this great artist.

    February 22, 2013
    • Glad you enjoyed it!

      February 25, 2013
  • Melissa P

    Is this open on Sundays as well?

    February 28, 2013
    • Yes, until 5:00 I believe. You can always call 904-825-1000 to confirm. Enjoy!

      March 1, 2013

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