“Romanticism to Modernism” at Boca Museum: A Fine Exhibit Pulled From the Permanent Collection

Above, "Faune dévoilant une dormeuse" by Pablo Picasso.

When times are tough, museums often delve deep into their permanent collections. That’s exactly what the Boca Museum has done with this fine little secondary exhibition.

It may not have the flash or dazzle of a traveling show or an aspiring blockbuster, but it more than makes up for it with breadth and depth. The 65 works included span the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries, and the list of artists featured add up to an impressive roster of master print-makers. Granted, Giovanni Battista Piranesi, an 18th-century Italian, may not be a household name, but consider the other artists in the show: Georges Braque, Marc Chagall, Paul Cézanne, Paul Gauguin, Fernand Léger, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, and James McNeill Whistler, to name a few.

The exhibition gets off to a viscerally powerful start with half a dozen Goya etchings from the artist’s justly famous The Disasters of War series. Other highlights include eight color pochoir, or stencil, prints by Joan Miró, and the simple but stunning lithograph Interior Scene, executed by Pierre Bonnard around 1940.

The star of the show, not surprisingly, is Picasso, represented here by nearly two dozen works. His Dying Minotaur and Young Compassionate Woman, from the Vollard Suite (1930-1937), is a standout, as are some samples from the brazenly erotic 347 Series, turned out in a remarkable seven-month burst of creativity in 1968.

The show is up through mid-June 2011, so there’s no excuse not to take it in when you visit the Boca Museum to see some other high-profile exhibition.

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Michael Mills