Sixty works of art from the collection of media mogul William S. Paley, the founder of CBS, are coming to Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art next week, including Pablo Picasso’s “Boy Leading a Horse” and other French masterworks. 

The exhibition, “The William S. Paley Collection: A Taste for Modernism,” was organized by the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) and has been touring museums across the country; CBMAA is its final stop. The MoMA offers a “sneak preview” to the show’s catalog here. About the catalog, MoMA writes:


History and progress — two seemingly diametrically opposed concepts. Yet, both are expertly realized in Pablo Picasso’s Boy Leading a Horse, one of the masterpieces featured in The William S. Paley Collection: A Taste for Modernism. In this catalogue, MoMA’s former Director Emeritus of Painting and Sculpture, William Rubin, analyzes in depth how this Rose Period painting marks a point in Picasso’s career when his work was on the brink of ingenuity yet steeped in history at the same time. Throughout his discussion, Rubin not only situates Boy Leading a Horse in the context of the artist’s oeuvre, but also within the spectrum of art history as a whole. He illustrates how Picasso both draws inspiration from his contemporaries and demonstrates his extensive art historical knowledge, even referencing as far back as Ancient Greek sculpture. Further, Rubin examines how the boy in the painting, P’tit Louis, acts as the artist’s surrogate. Therefore, the work can be read as Picasso himself leading his loyal steed into the future, into the age of Cubism.

The exhibit, which opens March 15, also features work by Paul Gaugin, Andre Derain, Henri Matisse, Paul Cezanne, Edgar Degas, Henri Toulouse-Lautrec and, in a step away from those master’s, Francis Bacon’s “Study for Three Heads.” (Another triptych by Bacon, featuring Lucien Freud, sold at auction recently for $142.4 million — a record sale for any work at auction.)

The exhibit runs through July 7. Admission is $8 for adults. Admission to all temporary exhibitions is free for Crystal Bridges members and for youth ages 18 and under. A free audio tour, prepared by The Museum of Modern Art, is available for check-out at the entrance to the exhibition.


I will be leading an Arkansas Times bus trip to Crystal Bridges to see the exhibition on June 7; details to come.