“When We Were Young”


"Do childhood works by artists reveal traces of their future genius?
What can the drawings of gifted children teach the viewer about the
relationship between art and society? These are among the questions
posed by this provocative show and its catalog, one of the first
contemporary museum exhibitions to approach children’s art from an
aesthetic perspective.

"I wanted people to ask themselves to
what extent the criteria they use to look at children’s drawings is the
imposition of an adult eye," said Jonathan Fineberg, a scholar of
modern and contemporary art who organized the exhibition. "It’s not
just that Picasso could render well, because you could teach anybody to do that." The
catalog has a startlingly lifelike drawing of a dog by the 5-year-old
Edwin Landseer; he grew up to become not Picasso, but a maudlin
academic painter….

Opening simultaneously with "Klee and America," a traveling retrospective
that was on view recently at the Neue Galerie in Manhattan, "When We Were Young"
juxtaposes juvenilia by Klee and Picasso with one mature work by each artist,
and with art by children selected primarily from three private

"When Picasso and Klee Were Very Young: The Art of Childhood"
By Leslie Camhi
6.18.06 The New York Times

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Image: Private collection, Urbana, Illinois
"Dwarf and Mask" from 1926 by Paul Klee.