31 January 2017

Picasso 1932: Love, Fame, Tragedy at Tate Modern

When an exhibition of the work of one of the best known figures of 20th century art is announced in your country, it's worth coming out of blogging hibernation for! I've been busy with my business but felt a longing to have more balance, and writing about culture provides that. So I'm back and I want to express my joy about the Tate Modern's announcement yesterday of its first ever Picasso exhibition. 

Girl Before A Mirror, March 1932
It would be a pretty big headache to do a complete retrospective of his tremendous output over his ninety-one years on the planet, so they've sensibly decided to focus on a short yet notable period of his life, one year in fact. 1932 was a memorable year for the Master, he produced some of his greatest works of art, staged his first retrospective and he achieved superstar status as one of the world's most influential living artists. He was also embroiled in a passionate affair with a woman twenty-eight years his junior, Marie-Therese Walter. They met when she was seventeen and he was forty-five. Apparently he clocked her exiting a metro station near the Galeries Lafayette in Paris, grabbed her by the arm and told her "I'm Picasso! You and I are going to do great things together!" (Not exactly subtle). He was married to his first wife Olga Khokhlova at the time yet began a secret affair with the teenager. The relationship was kept secret from his wife until 1935; Marie lived next door to the Picasso family for the first years of the affair in an apartment provided by Picasso's art dealer Paul Rosenberg, then in a house opposite. (Marie and Picasso had a child, Maya in 1935). 

Women with Book, 1932
1932 is classed by experts as Picasso's 'Year of Wonders,' works he created in that year are considered to be the most desired of his career. It was the year he painted the controversial "Le Reve" a portrait of Walter which features an erect penis as part of her face. It was bought in 2013 by art collector and hedge fund manager Steve A Cohen from casino tycoon Steve Wynn, who amazingly put his arm through it before selling it in 2006. It was reported as the highest price a US collector has ever paid for artwork. 

Le Reve, 1932
The highly-anticipated show will feature a number of paintings of Walter, realist portraits of his first wife and their son, as well as atmospheric surrealist works made at the chateau he bought in 1930 in Boisgeloup, 40 miles from Paris. It also includes paintings depicting rescue scenes after Walter fell into the river Marne and fell ill. 

I personally can't wait to find out more about his mindset at the time through his work, at what was a pivotal moment for him professionally and personally. 

The exhibition will first be shown in Paris at the Musee National-Picasso, from 10th October 2017 to 11th February 2018, then at the Tate Modern from 8th March to 9th September 2018. 




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