Ceramics by Pablo Picasso are displayed in an exhibition hall at the Kennedy Centre
Washington - AFP
More than 140 ceramics by Pablo Picasso, many rarely seen in public, are the star turn at a month-long festival in Washington celebrating Spanish and Portuguese culture that opened Tuesday.
The Iberian Mix "remix" at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, running through March 24, gives Americans a window on modern and contemporary dance, theater, music, film, food and art from the Iberian peninsula.
Ceramic pieces that Spanish-born Picasso created in the south of France in the years after World War II take pride of place, in an exhibition originally presented in Aubagne and Sevres in France.
"One of the unique features of the exhibition is that it brings together many pieces never seen before, or not seen for a long time," said co-curator Bruno Gaudichon of La Piscine museum in Roubaix, France.
Several are on loan from private collections, he told AFP.
Its broad scope also reveals how the famously prolific Picasso embraced ceramics as a source of inspiration for his other artistic creations.
"The objects themselves, their shape and their texture, often give me the key to my visions," he once said, in a quote that greets visitors at the entrance to the spacious exhibition.
Other works of art showcased at Iberian Mix include a life-size recreation of a Lisbon cable car by Portuguese artist Nuno Vasa -- made entirely of cork.
"This is a cable car for crossing the ocean," Vasa told AFP, who explained how he put it together in a cork factory, then shipped it to Washington where it dominates the Hall of Nations within the Kennedy Center complex with its size and distinctive smokey aroma.