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A pioneer of modern art, Pablo Picasso is the focus of new exhibit at the Dali Museum in St. Petersburg

Cubist painting by Pablo Picasso showing man and woman kissing.
Adrien Didierjean / RMN-GP
Agence photo de la RMN-GP
Pablo Picasso Le Baiser (The Kiss) Mougins, 26 October 1969 Oil on canvas 97 x 130 cm Musée national Picasso-Paris Acceptance in lieu Pablo Picasso, 1979. MP220. © 2021 Estate of Pablo Picasso / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.

The exhibit charts Picasso's evolution through time, and includes dozens of works that have never been shown in the United States.

The first exhibit of 2022 for the Dali Museum in St. Petersburg will feature one of the best-known artists of the 20th century.

"Picasso and the Allure of the South," explores the influence of southern Europe on Pablo Picasso’s art.

For nearly 80 of his 91 years, Pablo Picasso was prolific. Among other disciplines, the Spanish artist was a painter, sculptor and printmaker.

"There is no artist's name bigger than Pablo Picasso to define the 20th century and to define the public's enthusiasm for modern art,” said Peter Tush, senior curator of education at the Dalí Museum.

“This show is extraordinary because you get to see his entire career, from 1909 all the way to 1972, a year before he passes."

Tush says the lens for this show is Picasso's affinity for small towns in the Mediterranean region.

"We always associated him with Paris but apparently he was very awkward, very uncomfortable in an urban setting. He really felt most at home in these kinds of rural Mediterranean areas and that's really where his ideas seemed to thrive and change and so that's what this show brings forward."

Pablo Picasso painting of bullfight with black bull and white horse.
Mathieu Rabeau / RMN-GP
Agence photo de la RMN-GP
Pablo Picaso Corrida:La mort du torero (Corrida, Death of the Bullfighter) Boisge loup 19 September 1933, Oil on panel 31x40cm Musee national Picasso-Paris Acceptance in lieu of Pablo Picasso, 1979. MP145. © Estate of Pblo Picasso / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.

For much of his life, Picasso would spend summers working in these small towns.

Photographs of the artist enjoying the beach and sunshine can be found among the paintings and prints on loan from the National Museum of Picasso in Paris.

Hank Hine, executive director of the Dali Museum, says the exhibit examines how place can inspire an artist.

"So instead of being Picasso's greatest hits, or Picasso and a particular moment in art history, we are looking at a particular cultural zone and the idea of region and identity,” he said.

The different regions of Picasso's summer homes are mapped out on the gallery floors and the exhibit features works spanning over 60 years.

The show follows the artist's evolution through time -- from his cubist period to surrealist works.

Hine says Picasso's longevity came from the artist’s ability to consistently reinvent himself.

"Picasso went from style to style, always having the same kind of energy, the same finesse but creating things that looked completely different,” he said.

“Picasso had said that he wanted to never represent the world the way it was but always make it wrong in some way that makes us think about things."

Picasso and the Allure of the South runs through May at the Dali Museum in St. Petersburg.

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