The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston enchants audiences with Calder-Picasso


Photo By: Yezen Saadah

Calder-Picasso at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

Houston’s Museum of Fine Arts is currently exhibiting Calder-Picasso – an internationally traveling gallery exhibiting the works of two of the most revered and defining artists of the 20th century: Alexander Calder and Pablo Picasso – which began on Oct. 31 and will be displayed until Jan. 30.

Calder-Picasso examines the works and lives of the prolific and revolutionary artists, demonstrating their inherent influence and innovative modes of self-expression and visual storytelling. Organized by Calder and Picasso’s grandsons, the exhibition focuses on the primary modes explored by the two artists; particularly space and lack thereof. The exhibition effectively demonstrates their distinctive and stylish art forms, allowing for viewers to awe the presence of grand masterworks. 

One of the many paintings that caught my attention was Picasso’s Le Taureau (The Bull), which was a lithographic work constructed from a mixture of wash, pen, and scrapings on stone. The piece is a collection of 11 drawings of a bull, gradually deconstructing the animal from an incredibly detailed three-dimensional form to the simplest two-dimensional outline imaginable. Done over the course of a month (Dec. 1945 to Jan. 1946), The Bull is meant to symbolize Picasso’s Spanish heritage, often interpreted as a representation of the Spanish people, a commentary on fascism, or a symbol of strong will. Despite its thematic richness, I was more taken by the craftsmanship involved in the piece and the work that went into deconstructing the anatomy of the bull; yet, even in its simplest form, the animal is still recognizable. I found the concept to be immensely fascinating.

Another piece that I was drawn to was Alexander Calder’s 1955 piece, My Shop. The painting is a literal depiction of Calder’s own art shop, consisting of 16 of his most defining works throughout his career up until this point. The painting itself – similar to the 16 works within the painting – is unfinished, which is already an intriguing premise. The idea of Calder’s work being unfinished is a recurring theme in the majority of his wired sculptures; however, this leaves the empty space within his art to be filled by the imagination of the viewer. Based on the premise alone, I found My Shop to be a truly engrossing and thought-provoking painting.

Calder-Picasso at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (


Those were just two of the many, many pieces exhibited at Calder-Picasso. The exhibition itself is a vast gallery of diverse artworks guaranteed to evoke a variety of emotions out of the viewer. As mentioned, the Museum of Fine Arts will be displaying the works of these great artists until Jan. 30 of 2022, and I strongly encourage taking this opportunity to be mesmerized by two masters of their craft.