Traverse City Record-Eagle


June 13, 2014

Big Picasso to move to NY museum

NEW YORK (AP) — A stage curtain believed to be the biggest Pablo Picasso painting in the United States is moving to a museum after a dispute over whether it could stay in its longtime spot in the storied Four Seasons restaurant, the painting’s owner announced Thursday.

The 19-by-20-foot curtain, called “Le Tricorne,” is being donated to the New-York Historical Society, where it’s expected to go on display after some conservation work, painting owner the Landmarks Conservancy said. The timetable isn’t clear; the groups still are working out the arrangements.

The agreement will keep the painting, which is so familiar a sight that its Four Seasons berth is known as “Picasso Alley.” The pact also resolves a lawsuit that caused a stir among art lovers and preservationists, pitting the Landmarks Conservancy against a real estate magnate known as an art patron.

“It’s going to be at a good home, where even more people will see it,” conservancy President Peg Breen said. Historical Society President Louise Mirrer called the painting “an icon of New York for more than half a century, embodying both an influential social milieu and an important moment in the city’s cultural development.”

Picasso painted the curtain in 1919 for “Le Tricorne,” or “three-cornered hat,” a ballet created by the avant-garde, Paris-based Ballet Russes troupe. The painting depicts the aftermath of a bullfight.

Although praised at $1.6 million in 2008, the painting isn’t considered one of Picasso’s greatest pieces but stands as a major example of his theatrical set work, experts say. And it has graced the Four Seasons’ landmarked, modernist interior since its 1959 opening. The painting itself isn’t landmarked.

The midtown Manhattan restaurant, unaffiliated with the nearby Four Seasons hotel, is a power-lunch hotspot that has hosted high-wattage diners ranging from President Bill Clinton to Madonna.

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