Tuesday 18 September 2018

One day one photo - 18: Picasso

As I am going to Bankside these days I thought I would write about the exhibition I recently saw. With my Tate members card, which costs about £70, I get free entry to all exhibitions across the different Tate galleries in the UK. I find it's good value as one exhibition may cost around £20, and being in London I can easily get to two museums - Tate Modern and Tate Britain.

Notable exhibtions I have been to have been David Hockney last year, as well as Modigliani. Recently, I saw Picasso - and by jove was it crowded. It was a very interesting exhibition and worth the trip. The collection, entitled Love, Fame, Tragedy focused on the year 1932 when Pablo Picasso was living in Paris and had found global fame.

Marie-Therese Walter (apparently!) in Girl Before a Mirror
There were some works I recognised such as Nude Woman in a Red Armchair and Girl Before a Mirror plus stuff that was the precursor to his later massive anti-war piece, Guernica. A lot of the works were influences from his Cubism period.

I couldn't help thinking about the way he depicted the women in his life. If I were Marie-Therese Walter being presented with a portrait my boyfriend had painted of me I wouldn't be that impressed!

From what I know he didn't treat the women in his life that well, given that he was constantly unfaithful to his first wife, Olga Khokhlova. In addition, he forced his family into submission, and intimidated and regularly insulted certain members of his family. He didn't seem to have much time for his grandchildren either - to the point that his grandson Pablito killed himself shortly after the artist's own death, and his father Paulo (Picasso's son) drank himself to death.

A lot of this is documented in the autobiography of one of the grandchildren, Marina who described a life of misery within the Picasso family as a result of the artist's behaviour.

While the book was a little controversial and came under a lot of criticism, I can't help thinking there's no smoke without fire. After all, there's no question about his adultery and how he picked up and dropped his various girlfriends (as well as painting unflattering portraits of them)!

So even though I, along with millions of others go and see exhibitions of his works and buy books about his art and his life I have to hold back from saying he was that great. After all, in this modern era of me-too and where psychological bullying of women is high in the public consciousness, such behaviour by Picasso would be held in contempt.

Maybe people don't mind lauding over Picasso - maybe because he's been dead for over 45 years - but I still think a brute is a brute so I will reserve my praise for him, even if his works are of seminal importance. 

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