Nelson Rockefeller’s Picassos: Tapestries Commissioned for Kykuit
December 20, 2014 – March 8, 2015
In December of 2014 the Museum will present an exhibition of fifteen of the eighteen tapestries commissioned by Governor Nelson Rockefeller. Modeled after Pablo Picasso’s most important paintings. They include Girl with Mandolin, Interior with Girl Drawing, Night Fishing at Antibes, and Three Musicians. Commissioned between 1958 and 1975, the tapestries were woven entirely by hand by Madame J. de la Baume Dürrbach in Southern France. The Guernica tapestry (which was on loan from the Rockefeller family to the San Antonio Museum of Art in 2012) was the first of these to be made.
Enormous in scale, these woven works of art took many months to complete. They reflect Rockefeller’s interest in the medieval tradition of tapestry and his love of modern art, while appealing to his egalitarian spirit. Much more durable than paintings, these tapestry “copies” of great works by Picasso can be viewed by a much larger audience. Picasso collaborated with the weaver on the color choices of many of them and kept up a lively exchange of letters with Rockefeller until his own death in 1973. Sadly, the great patron and artist never met, but we can see the fruits of their collaboration in the exhibition, Nelson Rockefeller’s Picassos: Tapestries Commissioned for Kykuit.