PICASSO. MUSES AND MODELS
The exhibition features a total of 46 paintings, 14 drawings and 6 sculptures that vividly evoke the powerful presence of women in Picasso’s artistic production. Coproduced with the Sociedad Estatal de Conmemoraciones Culturales
Over the course of his life, Pablo Picasso produced an extensive number of works featuring women – his favorite subject. Whether delicately sensual or profoundly carnal, temperamental or serene, these women did not merely pose";" rather, through the master’s gaze, they played an active role in the creative process, becoming muses and sources of inspiration for the man who loved them and immortalized them in his work.
Picasso. Muses and Models features a total of 46 paintings, 14 drawings and 6 sculptures that allow an intimate glimpse into the lives of these highly distinct individuals and reveal the powerful presence of women in Picasso’s artistic production. The majority of the works on display are portraits and nudes, dating from the beginning of the 20th century, when Fernande Olivier was his companion, to the final years of his life, which he spent alongside Jacqueline Roque.
Picasso’s last years are particularly well represented in the exhibition, as the works featured – lent by public and private collections – originally formed part of Jacqueline’s collection. Understandably this is a highly personal group of works, one that Picasso deliberately chose to keep close to him and whose intimate nature make us privy to the artist’s life.
From Fernande Olivier to Jacqueline Picasso
The exhibition, then, reveals to us something of Picasso’s artistic and private universe. In it, his first companion, Fernande Olivier, represented in bronze, is given hard, chiseled features that are far removed from the youthful countenance of the model. After Fernande, Eva Gouel would inspire an art immersed in the cubist period and represented in the exhibition by Woman in an Armchair (1913). Picasso would tell Guillaume Apollinaire about this painting: “You can see it’s a real woman. Even what’s hidden is there”.
For most of the next decade, the image of the ballerina Olga Kokhlova, Picasso’s first wife, dominates his work. She’s seen in many guises in our own Collection, where she plays contrasting roles, from the bourgeois lady to the primal, monumental mother figure. Nonetheless, it was probably Picasso’s next lover, Marie-Thérèse Walter, who was represented in the most versatile array of forms: from an approachable, dreamy-eyed, silent young woman to the inaccessible sensuality of an almost mythological creature.
Quite the opposite occurred with Dora Maar, one of the most outstanding surrealist photographers of her day and Picasso’s companion in the 1930s. Dora photographed Picasso whilst he painted Guernica (1937), and hers is the anguished face he reproduced in preliminary drawings for this great painting, one of which is included in this exhibition, Woman Crying, (1937).
The works inspired by Picasso’s last companion, Jacqueline Roque, are the most numerous in the exhibition and also the most varied with regard to theme and style. In some works she is portrayed with delicate naturalism, in others schematized to the extreme. The image that Picasso reveals of his second wife is rich in nuance. The different ways in which the artist represents Jacqueline verges on the playful, hinting at the artist’s love of the theater: dressed all in black, posing like a child with her legs crossed on a rocking chair, dressed as a Turkish or Spanish lady, playing with her dog, or simply inviting reverence, like a long-necked goddess.
Though painting predominates in the works brought together in Picasso. Muses and Models, the show also features drawings in charcoal, ink and Conté pencil, sculptures in bronze and sheet metal and collages.
In conjunction with the exhibition, the Museo Picasso Málaga is publishing a bilingual catalogue (Spanish/English) with essays by Estrella de Diego, professor of Art History at the Complutense University of Madrid, and Robert S. Lubar, professor of Art History at the Institute of Fine Arts, New YorkUniversity. The fully illustrated catalogue includes all the exhibited works, reproduced in color and duly documented.
Picasso. Muses and Models has been organized by Bernardo Laniado-Romero, director of the Museo Picasso Málaga, and coproduced with SECC, the Sociedad Estatal de Conmemoraciones Culturales, Ministerio de Cultura. The works have been lent by both public and private collections in Switzerland, the United States and France, among them the Musée Picasso, Paris, and the Musée d’art moderne et contemporain, Strasbourg.
In connection with the exhibition, Robert Lubar and Estrella de Diego, authors of texts included in the catalogue, will offer two lectures focused on Picasso’s muses. Robert Lubar’s conference will take place on Thursday 5 October at 8 pm at the MPM Auditorium. Estrella de Diego’s lecture will be offered at the same time and place on Thursday 19 October. Admission for both lectures is free.
Picasso. Muses and models will also be the central theme of the Charlas en el Museo (Gallery Talks), free guided tours given by the Education Department every Thursday at 6.00 pm.
Finally, the film Picasso, un portrait, directed by Edward Quinn, will be shown in the MPM Projection Room throughout the duration of the exhibition. This documentary is an intimate, fully-rounded portrait of the artist that the film director and photographer Edward Quinn (Ireland, 1920 - Switzerland, 1997) made of Pablo Picasso over the course of their friendship, which lasted for more than 20 years.
Picasso. Muses and Models