By Janice Carlson Oresman, Smith class of 1955
I worked at the front desk of our beloved Museum during lunch hour of my junior year. It was an amazing experience to sit there and engage in a dialogue with extraordinary pictures. I was making my way through the history of art imparted to me through the famous Art 11 and other more specific courses but nothing prepared me for my encounter with Picasso’s Table, Guitar, and Bottle (La Table). Cubism had yet to come to my attention.
This painting baffled me. It came forward into my space reminding me at that time of an old accordion pleated Kodak camera. It approached me only to retreat into a tightly locked surface. It never let me in. I suffered. Was it unrequited love? I felt that this painting was a personal challenge to me.
Cubism changed the world of art and it changed me. As my studies progressed I never forgot my efforts to befriend the painting. I have learned that understanding art requires great patience and great tenacity and that the rewards are extremely gratifying.
Many reunions with my Picasso through nearly sixty years are a reminder of the power of a great work of art. This painting has become an icon for me. Smith has taught us through the years how to incorporate the challenges of works of art into our everyday lives. What a gift.