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“Picasso’s 3rd Act” by Patricia Cavanaugh


I went to see the Picasso exhibition at the De Young in San Francisco this week.  It was the culmination of a summer and fall exploration of the early 20th century movers and shakers of the world of art.  There was the Stein show at the SFMOMA, Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris and then Gertrude Stein and Alice B Toklas exhibition at the San Francisco Contemporary Jewish Museum.   I saw Picasso last because frankly I am not a fan.  But the opportunity presented itself and I went with a dear friend from high school.


As I moved through the galleries and watched the transformation from Picasso’s lovely realistic paintings to his challenging cubist explorations I was struck by his wide ranging use of his signature strengths and talents.  Here is a man who was able to explore the edges of artistic creativity.  He did not stay in his comfort zone nor did or does he let his viewers rest in conventionality.  Picasso painted till the end of his long life of 91 years.  He continued to express him self with his talents but he used a variety of mediums from paint to found objects and from collage to metals as materials for his brilliant gifts.

Beyond the works of art he challenged his own conventions and those of his times.  He did not retire; he reinvented his art using his creative strengths, channeling them in new and forceful directions opening up the world to new vision and insight.  I have become an admirer.

We can learn from Picasso to live our life fully using all we are given to the fullest.  Recently NPR has explored the idea of retirement.  In their last segment of a weeklong series, they come to the conclusion that those of us between 50 and 70 must continue to bring meaning to our lives and add value to our world.   We at the 3rd Act have been talking about this movement for several years.  I am glad that the media is catching up.  You can listen at this link. And then think about Picasso as a role model for aging.

How are you planning to use your signature strengths during your 30-year bonus?  We would love to hear from you.

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2 comments to “Picasso’s 3rd Act” by Patricia Cavanaugh

  • I know that I plan on creating art all my life. That is the beauty of art you never stop learning and it always stays exciting as long as you do what you are passionate about.

  • Sue Langham

    I really like your visual of comparing Picasso to our third act. It really makes one excited about still creating.

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