Who is Pablo Picasso?
For some, he is the man that painted disfigured forms on canvas and called it art and not surprisingly so, claimed he was an artist.
To others, he is a genius that paved way to an art movement called Cubism and whose paintings and sculptures reflect deep emotional stance caused by the women in his life.
Personally, Picasso had never had an impact on me throughout my art initiation phase. I remember the only time I mentioned Picasso was when I was presenting my high school exams and I had (of course) chosen arts as an elective. I had to explain to the jury that the artwork in front of them was inspired by Picasso’s Guernica. I think that went well because I got 18/20 🙂
Back to the blog post in question.
I first read about Picasso’s exhibition at the Tate a couple of months before I ever had any plans to visit London (again!). I remember sighing- I really wanted to walk through the gallery and witness first hand the art work of the famous Picasso. I guess sometimes wishes do come true in very unexpected ways – A day after landing in London, I was waiting at 10am sharp the doors of the Tate to open and be among the first to attend the exhibition.
For the first time, I got the audio headphone sets (which I advise strongly) and entered through the doors and into the world of Picasso, 1932.
The EY Exhibition Picasso 1932 – Love, Fame, Tragedy reflects the year of 1932 in the life of the artist through his art. Presented into 6 rooms, I was amazed by the number of artwork commissioned for this exhibition and hung on the walls of the Tate. My emotions were in turmoil; staring at the paintings while listening to the historical facts of that era, being informed of the state of mind of the artist, introduced to the source of his inspiration, the subject matter and the color used, gave me an indescribable euphoria. Yes Euphoria! You see I love history and an analytical mind. Combine both and speak to me in art and I’m sold!
The title of the exhibition could not have summed it up better.
Picasso was married at that time to famous ballerina Olga Khokhlova. However he had a much younger mistress by the name of Marie- Therese Walter whom he met mostly at his BoisgeLoup manor in the South of France. She is said to be his muse and subject of most of his paintings. Her sharp eloquent nose is said to have given way this fact. Furthermore, most of the time the subject in his painting is sitting in an armchair. The latter as if enveloping the woman. Picasso was very much intrigued by the female body and went on painting voluptuous forms stressing, hence, the importance of the flesh.
“Nude Woman in a Red Armchair” July 1932 is said to be his masterpiece englobing the above mentioned traits of a typical Picasso art work. It has been confirmed that this painting was done in one setting in one day. Picasso depicts his mistress, Marie- Therese sitting on a red armchair in a way the latter is being embraced by a lover. The colors that have been used revolve mostly around the blue and red pigments. We can notice that her face is passive yet if you look at it a few minute, it is as if it is a set of two face emerging from the neck; one looking to the left and the other one straight forward. This painting is my favorite and I encourage you to listen to the following analysis of the Director the Exhibitions at the Tate, M. Achim Borchardt- Hume.
Picasso was indeed a master of his time.
He painted fervently the body of women hence reflecting his love towards the opposite sex (he had numerous mistresses along the years) and especially towards his mistress Marie- Therese Walter. This depicts the complicated loveless marriage he had with his wife, Olga.
A recurrent set of colors in his paintings are the red, blue and green colors, which coincidently are primary colors.
His brushstrokes paved way to art historians and art conservators to analyze in depth his state of mind, his feelings and the length it took him to finish a painting.
Being in a room full of Picasso’s work is overwhelming. Whenever you walk into a room, you see shapes, sensual, completely at opposite to the passive gazes. You think you hallucinated into looking two subject matters in one painting – you try to decipher the woman from the armchair, where does one start and the other end.
Picasso’s exhibition is a puzzle for the eye as well as the mind. You leave the exhibition with an urge of researching thoroughly the works of the artist and the psychological aspect behind it.
Following are a few of the paintings I pictured and a chronological historical facts of the year 1932 in the life of the artist.
Hope you enjoyed it and if by any chance you come across an exhibition of Picasso, by all means Go for it!
The Sculptor – Monday 7th December 1931
Bust of a woman – Boisgeloup 1931
Still life at the window – Monday 18th January 1932
The Yellow Belt – Wednesday 6 January 1932
Rest – Friday 22 January 1932
The Dream – Sunday 24 January 1932
Chronological Facts for the year 1932 in the Life of Pablo Picasso;