The Scallop Shell: Notre Avenir Est Dans L’Air, painted in 1912 by Pablo Picasso signifies the resurgence of color in the works of both Picasso and Braque, a response to the brilliantly colored canvases of the Italian Futurists. On 4th September 1909, Picasso created the masterpiece within the presence windows of Le Matin’s headquarters. This painting caught the eye of Leo Castelli from the MoMA and convinced him to hold a large-scale exhibition for Picasso’s Cubist paintings.
The painting portrays a hodgepodge collection of basic geometric shapes arranged seemingly chaotically, but with a certain natural grace that draws attention to its meticulous craftsmanship. Cells mandala stands at center stage as if suggesting change or transformation might be an integral part self-expression and creative process. Since his days as an art student in Barcelona, Picasso had been passionate about experimenting with numerous different styles and this work was highly reflective of his discerning tastes.
This masterpiece laid the foundation for some of Picasso’s later work like The Man With The Golden Helmet (After Rembrandt). This painting was created several years after The Scallop Shell and served as an experimental take on Baroque portraiture. Paying homage to past traditions while infusing it with modern abstraction and flair, this work radiates with intelligence and vitality that has been renowned over time.