Someone had a dynamite idea for a show. Pablo Picasso produced over 50,000 works of art during his long life. He died in 1973 at the age of 91. Many of these works of art are of the women in his life. There were 6 significant ones. He married 2 of them. The new show at the Vancouver Art Gallery, “Picasso The Artist and His Muses” is about them. It opened on June 11 and will close on October 2, 2016. I was told by the museum staff that it will not travel elsewhere. If Picasso is your passion, you have 2 choices: head for Vancouver or order the catalog from Amazon. It will cost you $23.08.
As I was looking at one of Picasso’s women, a man approached me and asked how much I thought the painting would sell for. I thought it over and said, “Oh, 60 to 80 million.” Then he told me 2 interesting things. “I own a Picasso. To sell it I must first send it to Paris to be authenticated. If it’s judged a fake, they won’t send it back.” He said he might take it to Paris.
Picasso made Montmartre his home in 1904 and entered his Blue Period the following year. When Fernande Olivier moved in with him, Picasso shifted to his Rose Period. Fernande was his first great love and, becoming intensely jealous, Pablo insisted that she stop modeling for other men.
He married his 2nd muse, Olga Khokhlova. Olga grew up in St. Petersburg, Russia, and became a renowned ballet dancer. That’s her with Picasso above. They had the 1st of his 4 children in 1921 and named him Paulo. His affair with muse #3, Marie-Thérèse Walter, led to a 2nd pregnancy. Since it wasn’t Olga who was expecting, she moved out but never divorced Pablo. Walter was an athlete, and Picasso drew and painted her beautiful face often. That he was enamored of her finally became obvious to Olga and she moved on. When Picasso died, Walter committed suicide.
#4 was Dora Maar. Dora was an established fashion photographer and political activist who grew up in Buenos Aires. Her affair with Picasso was reportedly marked by sadism and mysticism. They never lived together but led an active social life together in the late 1930s. That’s Maar below in the orange/red hat with marijuana, according to Ruth, sprouting from it.
In 1943 Picasso met Françoise Gilot and Dora Maar had a nervous breakdown. Picasso had 2 children with Gilot and they stayed together until 1953. Two years later Gilot married another artist and became a well-regarded painter. That’s her in the Picasso lithograph below. She never saw him again, but in 1964 she wrote a best seller, Life with Picasso. Now 95, she still paints every day.
Picasso’s last muse was Jacqueline Rogue. Since Olga was now dead, Pablo proposed to Jacqueline. She said no at first but they eventually secretly married, and, over time, he painted her more than any other woman.
There are examples of his portraits of all 6 muses in this exhibit, which was thoughtfully assembled with loans from museums from Des Moines, Iowa, to Düsseldorf, Germany.