Picasso and His Women

Hello Darlings, Having my university degree in art history and architecture, gallery visits are a big part of my personal life. Art Gallery of Ontario is one of my favorites to visit for  inspiration, and this summer the gallery has a wonderful exhibit, Picasso: Masterpieces from Musée National Picasso running until August 26

Along with the Surreal Things exhibit from summer 2009, this exhibit is my personal favorite. The collection is fascinating and special for many reasons including that it is Picasso's personal collection of works that he either never sold or  re-acquired. In the words of the artist, " I paint the way some people write an autobiography. The paintings, finished or not, are the pages from my diary." 

I was fortunate to receive a guided tour of the Picasso exhibit courtesy of the Art Gallery of Ontario, and was able to photograph which is rare. This post is very special to me, and I really hope that you enjoy it!

While completing my specialist degree,  Picasso was the artist about whom I wrote  most often. I find him fascinating, not only in his works but also in his character.

Many of his works and artistic periods are sparked by different women. "Women are machines for suffering," Picasso told his mistress Françoise Gilot as they began their nine-year affair. The 61-year-old artist warned the 21-year-old student: "For me there are only two kinds of women, goddesses and doormats". Interesting enough, Gilot turned out to be the only woman to leave Picasso, I suppose she was wise enough to follow his advice and she eventually published a best-setting biography —that I am dying to read —  Life With Picasso in 1964.

Rather than sharing the periods of Picasso's work, I want to discuss his greatest loves and disappointments — the women who were catalysts in his development. Of the six most influential women in Picasso's life, two killed themselves and two went mad - an impressive statistic for a man who could literally drive a woman crazy! Picasso may have had dozens of affairs and was true to no one, but each one of those women stand for a different period of his career and a development of new visual language. They may have been obsessed with the man, but he was just as dependent on them.

Fernande Olivier with Picasso 1904-1912

Picasso's famed model and his first Parisian relationship. She appears in many of his Rose Period works, and modelled for his first Cubist sculpture.

Olga Khokhlova with Picasso 1917-1935; separated in 1935; married until 1954

Olga was Picasso's first wife, and the mother of his eldest child Paulo. They met when he was designing costumes and sets for Diaghilev's Ballet Russes in Rome, where the Ukrainian Olga was a ballet dancer. After their separation in 1935, she bombarded him with hate mail but since Picasso refused to divide his assets with her they never divorced.

Marie-Thérèse Walter with Picasso 1927-1936

Picasso met 17 year-old Walter and kept their affair secret for eight years.Their passionate relationship fuelled paintings charged with explicit eroticism. Often portrayed in soft pastel colours and features her signature blond hair. Picasso had a daughter with Walter, Maia, in 1935, at about the same time Picasso began his affair with Dora Maar. Walter hanged herself in 1977.

Dora Maar with Picasso  1935-1944

An intense and beautiful Surrealist photographer and writer. She and Picasso shared left-wing political values. She famously photographed the creation of his Guernica in 1937.

Françoise Gilot with Picasso 1943-1953

An artist herself, she and  Picasso fell in love in Nazi-occupied Paris . They had two children together, Claude and Paloma, and she was also the only woman to leave Picasso. She published her memoirs in 1964, Life With Picasso, and till this day continues to paint and exhibit.

Jacqueline Roque with Picasso 1953-19973

Jacqueline was a sales assistant in Madoura Pottery Studio, where Picasso created his ceramics.  They met in 1953 when she was 27, and became his second wife in 1961. He was enamored by her classic beauty and saw her as a reincarnation of a woman painted  by French master Eugène Delacroix, with whom Picasso was obsessed with. She shot herself in 1986.

With a story as fascinating as Picasso's and the a creative genius as inspiring as Picasso, this exhibit is a must see!  I very much enjoyed the audio that AGO prepared and the chronological organization of the exhibit.

I AM WEARING: Marc by Marc Jacobs Diamond Stripe Silk Blazer // Wilfred Silk Camisole // 7 For All Mankind Roxanne Jeans // Tory Burch Beverly Pumps // Kate Spade Little Blaine Satchel // YSL Arty Ring

As for my outfit, I wore a silk Marc by Marc Jacobs blazer with my favorite new Tory Burch pumps and  white denim jeans - as the day carried on beyond the exhibit to a number of events.

With Love...


Sources:  AGO Exhibition Guide; Pablo Picasso's Love Affairs by Mark Hudson for The Telegraph

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