The two pieces I found were two different pieces with the same name and the same artist. They come from a series of “Bust of a Woman” by Pablo Picasso. One from 1944 and the other from 1909. These pieces in context were not near each other. Many artists had rooms if the grand scale of their paintings demanded it (like a whole room for Monet’s Water Lilies, wow!) but these Picasso pieces were peculiarly not near each other, on completely different floors, in line more with their respective movements than sorted by relation of artist. I very much understand this, while they are both within the broad abstraction movement, one is a cubist piece, and the other is more in line with other is more in line with abstracted post-modern works in the iconic freaky style of Picasso we as a society love.
Visually, they can’t be any more different. The strokes contouring the shape of the woman in the piece from 1909 visually creates depth within the picture. The warm monochromatic lighting contrasts with the colorful flat piece from 1944. Picasso during his lifetime had many loves and models. These two pieces function as a display of a very early work, and a very late work in his timeline. The women pictured are different: Fernande Olivier and Dora Maar characteristically look very opposite. The 1909 picture is particularly concerned with the planar feeling of a woman taking up space, while the 1944 picture creates a flat, colorful surface that is more concerned with the silhouette of a woman than anything.
Picasso being a complex character, a heavily scrutinized socialite, the paintings functions as an insight into his development as a person over 35 years. The 1944 piece dating from the end of the Nazi occupation displays the abstraction of the figure represented in the stylistic nature of Picasso’s development during the occupation. These two pieces catalogue pre and post war Picasso. 1909 is drearily monochromatic but unrelated to feelings of war, not unhappy, simply planar. Juxtaposed, the 1944 piece displays a triumphant post-war Picasso in his abstracted figure prime.
Picasso’s development as a person can be seen through these two figures. Part of the reason why society loves Picasso’s curiously different paintings is because of his visible growth as an artist through his paintings. These two paintings draw into conflict to very opposite times in Picasso’s life. I am glad the Tate didn’t put them next to each other; the implications of having two of Picasso’s loves next to each other might have been too much.