Review

Le Tricorne: Picasso, Dalí and Falla at Art Safari 2022

Ruxi Rusu 13 June 2022 min Read

Are you a fan of ballet? If so, this year Art Safari in Bucharest, Romania is hosting the long-awaited show Le Tricorne: Picasso, Dalí & Falla (12 May– 7 Aug, 2022). The exhibition showcases the works and sketches of renowned Spanish artists Pablo Picasso and Salvador Dalí, who worked on the production of the ballet Le Tricorne, with music composed by Manuel de Falla.

Unlike any Picassos or Dalís you’ve probably seen before, this show exhibits a unique series of engravings and drawings the two artists produced for a ballet performance. Curated by Óscar Carrascosa and organized in partnership with the Embassy of Spain in Bucharest, Le Tricorne: Picasso, Dalí & Falla takes a deep dive into Spanish culture, exploring the symbiotic relationship between music, dance, and art.

About Le Tricorne

Le Tricorne (also known as the Three-Cornered Hat) is based on the short Spanish story El Sombrero de Tres Picos by Pedro Antonio de Alarcón, published in 1874. The story was inspired by a popular ballad that told the tale of a miller who used little gifts and his wife’s beauty as bait to attract prominent guests at the couple’s evening soirees. Its plot is centered around the miller who is worried about his wife’s infidelity. The novel is a social commentary and humorous critique brought against those who abuse their power.

The ballet was first staged in 1919 at the Alhambra Theater in London, with music composed by Manuel de Falla (1876–1946), a Spanish composer and pianist. The production was organized by Sergei Diaghilev and featured choreography by the famous Russian ballet dancer Léonide Massine, who also played the miller in this early production.

Pablo Picasso

Pablo Picasso (1881-1973) was charged with designing the costumes, curtains, the set, and even dancers’ makeup.

Pablo Picasso, Le Tricorne, Definitive Set, 1920, Art Safari 2022, Bucharest, Romania.

Pablo Picasso, Le Tricorne, Definitive Set, 1920, Art Safari 2022, Bucharest, Romania. Photo by the author.

For his costume designs, Picasso used intense colors and bold geometric shapes to outline the characters’ distinct features. Although they were inspired by traditional Spanish culture, Picasso’s designs are fresh and exciting, exuding an exotic air.

Pablo Picasso, Le Tricorne, Bullfighter's Outfit, 1920, Art Safari 2022, Bucharest, Romania.

Pablo Picasso, Le Tricorne, Bullfighter’s Outfit, 1920, Art Safari 2022, Bucharest, Romania. Photo by the author.

With delicate lace details and pompous skirts, the women’s attires are particularly impressive and certainly one of the exhibition’s many highlights. Incidentally, critics argue that Picasso’s sources of influence also include Francisco Goya’s compositions of people dancing, such as the Straw Manikin.

AdVertisment

Salvador Dalí

Followed by the success of the European Three-Cornered Hat, the ballet was scheduled to be reproduced across the Atlantic. For this production, Salvador Dalí (1904-1989) was commissioned to be in charge of the show, which premiered in the USA three decades later.

Like Picasso, Dalí’s work on the ballet culminated years later in a series of 20 woodcuts, published under the name of The Tree-Cornered Hat, which accompanied a French translation of El Sombrero de Tres Picos. The graphic series is an intense rendition of the miller’s story, featuring Surrealist imagery enhanced by sharp, expressive outlines and striking color contrasts.

AdVertisment

Le Tricorne: Picasso, Dalí & Falla takes the viewer back in time to showcase the artistic process behind the scenes of the Three-Cornered Hat ballet. Entering the dark-colored rooms, the space opens up immediately with numerous sketches, drawings, and woodcuts. Overall, the show is nicely organized and feels welcoming to visitors.

In addition to the artworks on display, the gallery set up a video projection area where a recording of Le Tricorne plays on a wide plasma screen. Meanwhile, posted on the walls visitors can find well-written informative texts in Romanian and English about the lives of the artists and their works. All of these details play a vital role in creating a stimulating and memorable experience.

By celebrating Spanish culture and the history of this fantastic ballet, Le Tricorne: Picasso, Dalí & Falla brings an often underrated (yet remarkable) artistic project to the attention of the public, undertaken by two of the most important artists of the 20th century.

Le Tricorne: Picasso, Dalí & Falla, Art Safari 2022, Bucharest, Romania. Photo by the author.

Exhibition Details

If you like what you’ve seen so far, make sure to visit Art Safari Bucharest between 12 May and 7 August, 2022 at Dacia-Romania Palace, 18-20 Lipscani.

Art Safari hosts four more exhibitions, including Barbara Klemm, Light and Dark photographs from Germany (curated by Matthias Flügge) and Theodor Aman, the first Romanian Modern Artist (curated by Elena Alariu).

To find out more information about tours and tickets, visit their website or check out their Instagram page @artsafari_bucharest.

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