This is an example of the kind of engaging, innovative exhibition for which the Columbus Museum of Art's new Margaret M. Walter Wing was built, CMA Executive Director Nannette Maciejunes said.

This is an example of the kind of engaging, innovative exhibition for which the Columbus Museum of Art's new Margaret M. Walter Wing was built, CMA Executive Director Nannette Maciejunes said.

"Picasso: The Great War, Experimentation and Change" was organized by the CMA, in partnership with the Barnes Foundation. The assembled 50-plus works by the 20th-century master examine an important stylistic period in Picasso's development as an artist in the years during and just following World War I.

The foundational piece for the exhibition is "Still Life with Compote and Glass," a piece from the CMA's collection. Independent exhibit curator Simonetta Fraquelli said the piece, begun in 1914, helped signal a shift in the artist's work.

"He chooses to re-explore an earlier, more traditional style in which he is proficient but from which he had moved into the cubist style," Fraquelli said. "Through the war and into the 1920s he jumps from one style to the other, but with each informing the other - a modern classicism and also cubist paintings with more rigor [and] more structure.

"He was extremely adventurous, an artist who never stood still."

How much this particular shift was impacted directly by the war - a Spaniard, Picasso nevertheless chose to remain in Paris despite the war's increasing proximity - is not clear. The artist never directly addresses the conflict in his work, but there are hints he took on elements of French patriotism.

Fraquelli also pointed out many cubist art dealers were German, which may have contributed to Picasso's move away from strict cubism.

The exhibition includes work drawn from numerous collections around the world, including the Barnes Foundation's extensive holdings. In addition to paintings, the collection features drawings, costumes and photographs.

"In the middle of the war, Picasso was offered to go to Rome to design costumes and set for a ballet, 'Parade,' which marked his first time being involved in the theater," Fraquelli said. She said that, despite the difference in media, the pieces show stylistic connections to Picasso's painting and drawing of the time.

The exhibition also includes newly discovered photographs of Picasso and his friends in Paris in 1916, and also a selection of works by artist friends of Picasso made in Paris at this same time.

"One of the great things about building an exhibition around one of our pieces is that we hope that, ever after, people will see our Picasso a little differently," Maciejunes said. "This is really a different kind of Picasso show."