Oct 26, 1956 - Dec 19, 1956
Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts (Moscow); State Hermitage Museum (Leningrad), USSR
The Picasso show was organized by the All-Union Society for Cultural Relations with Foreign Countries (VOKS), the principal Soviet institution responsible for international cultural contact. Ilya Ehrenburg, a distinguished Soviet writer, kulturträger, and friend of Picasso’s, facilitated the exhibition, which reaped the remarkable benefits of the 20th Congress of the Communist Party, when a new cultural policy was announced in tandem with Khrushchev’s program of liberalization.

Picasso, a member of the French Communist Party since 1944, was an ideologically convenient artist with whom to pioneer Soviet-Western artistic engagement. A major portion of the exhibition came from Picasso’s personal collection and comprised thirty-eight artworks: twenty-five paintings and thirteen drawings and ceramic works from various periods. The two museums contributed additional works, including the Cubist “Woman with a Fan” (1909; State Hermitage Museum) and “Violin” (1912; Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts).