Arts and Culture 2011

Amy Holtcamp



Museum of the Week – The Gibbes Museum of Art

Posted 5/17/2010 1:42:00 PM
“They expect to be shocked and terrorized,” artist Pablo Picasso once said of his audience. “If the monster only smiles, then they’re disappointed.”

From now until August 22, visitors to Charleston’s Gibbes Museum of Art have a chance to see the monster smile. But I doubt that they will be disappointed. Picasso’s 1956 oil, Femme dans un fauteuil, will be on view as part of the museum's current exhibit, “Modern Masters from the Ferguson Collection.”

The painting, from 1956, is a portrait of his then-lover Jacqueline Roque, who Picasso later married. They remained married until the artist’s death in 1973, during which time Picasso painted her literally hundreds of times. This portrait is typical of his depictions of Roque; his paintings of her often exaggerated her long neck and thick eyebrows and bore a delicacy and softness not necessarily present in his other treatments of women.

The pieces on exhibit are from the private collection of Esther and James Ferguson, prominent Charleston art enthusiasts, and include paintings, sculpture and works on paper by important 20th century artists like Auguste Rodin, Willem de Kooning, Robert Rauschenberg and Christo. I love to see an art show from someone’s private collection because you get to see the art that a particular person loved enough to own and see their taste reflected in the various pieces on view.

The Gibbes Museum also has a tremendous collection of mostly American art on permanent display. Museum hours are Tuesday-Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from 1 to 5 p.m. Admission is $9 for adults, $7 for seniors, students and military, $5 for children ages 6-12 and free for children younger than 6. The museum is located at 135 Meeting Street in the heart of Charleston's district. For more information visit