How Pablo Picasso abused his muses

by AryanArtnews
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“Are you painting something on the face, inside the face, or behind the face?” Pablo Picasso once asked. Through the intersecting planes of his cubism, the artist portrayed himself as a divine, omnipresent creator, achieving all three. But at what cost and at whom?

In May of this year, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City will auction Picasso’s first major sculpture, Tetedefam (Fernande). Christie’s gave the work a stunning $ 30,000,000 quote. Acclaimed as the work that launched Analytical Cubism, Picasso is firmly established as a master of modernism. However, few have admitted the story of the woman who stimulated it. Fernande Olivier, Picasso’s first great muse.

Born in Amelie Lang, Olivier first met Picasso in 1904 while working as an artist and model in Montmartre. After she moved with him, she posed more than 60 portraits in both Picasso’s Paris studio and overseas travel. One summer in Spain, the artist created a series of paintings focusing on Olivier’s head from multiple perspectives, capturing her tall cheekbones, straight nose and full lips. These experimental portraits culminated in “Tête de femme”.

Approximately 20 years after the end of his seven-year relationship with Picasso, Olivier tried to create his own self-portrait and wrote a series of memoirs about their lives. 6 excerpts Le Soir Before Picasso, who was famous and wealthy by this time, used a lawyer to silence her. Unfortunately, strong men have a history of misusing NDAs, reconciling to protect their reputation, and concealing crimes against women.

Olivier’s account, which was finally released, revealed an abusive relationship that prevented Picasso from doing both painting and modeling for other artists. He believed that women should not “break into men’s reserves” and should keep her in her home while she is out. He immortalized her with her art, but he did not rate her own muse in her own rights as her artist or woman. In “Tête de femme” it is difficult to avoid seeing the desire to control. Viewers are invited not only to imagine the artist moving around the model while working, but also to go around the sculpture and touch its surface.

Olivier presented Picasso with his original subject. From this point on, the female figure dominated the artist’s practice in all media. Like other abusers, Picasso’s life and art have patterns. The woman provided him with the inspiration for his best portraits before being abandoned for the young muse. He was also proud of this attitude. “Every time I change my wife, I have to burn my last wife, and I’ll be driven away … you kill the woman and wipe out the past she represents.” Of course, he each Was happy to continue making money from the art that inspired him.

Picasso’s muses have often been used as time-series markers throughout his career, but their impact on his ever-evolving style has been neglected and overlooked. This was a story built by an artist. “Inspiration exists, but you need to find out that you are working,” he once shouted, presenting himself as a creative genius whose success was born solely from his talent and effort. But his version of the event is definitely a myth.

In 1917 Picasso met Ballets Russes and ballet dancer Olga Khokhlova, who became his first wife. She left the company after Khokhlova met him. Like Picasso’s other muses, she contributed to his creative practice in advancing his career. During his marriage to Hokuroba, Picasso adopted a finer, more lyrical line and a neoclassical approach, holding innumerable portraits such as “Portrait in an Armchair” (1918). Depicted his muse that looks like. After Paul, the couple’s child, was born in 1921, Picasso began his quest for maternity and family, presenting Hokuroba as a maternity muse in the style of Madonna.

In 1927, Picasso changed his aesthetic direction again after starting his relationship with Marie-Thérèse Walter. As Picasso grew older, his muse became younger and younger: Walter was just 17 when they met outside the department store. With Walter, and through Walter, Picasso solidified the romantic image of an obedient female muse that provided an erotic male gaze. Perhaps because of her youth, she exists primarily as a passive in his paintings: reclining, sleeping muses.

Not surprisingly, Walter sells particularly well at auctions in the secondary art market, which is still dominated by male dealers and collectors. “Woman sitting by the window (Marie Therese)” (1932) reached $ 103.4 million in Christie’s in May 2021.

But, of course, Picasso soon needed new inspiration. In stark contrast to the golden girl Walter, the next person to enter his life was the black-haired Dora Maar. Another artist — she was a successful Surrealist photographer — Marl left an indelible mark on his practice. She taught him to make black-and-white photographs in the darkroom, and outside of that she taught him super-leftist politics. Both infused not only her portrait of Picasso, but also the magnificent anti-war mural “Guernica” (1937).

Marl was the one Picasso found a studio large enough for his huge protest painting — the place was the former headquarters of her radical political group. Contre attack.. In the space, Marl took a picture of Picasso making the mural and helped with the section to draw it. He left behind a bright palette to create a black-and-white “Guernica” inspired by Marl’s photographs. There is also a darkroom spotlight in the photo, under which Picasso’s famous “The Weeping Woman” appears for the first time.

That same year, Picasso painted Marl’s independent portrait as a “crying woman,” with tears in the glass. If you look closely, you can see a black fighter in her eyes. Marl was a very political being. However, portraits are often read in patriarchal stories, typically with a woman as a mere partner, as a change in her troubled relationships, and as Picasso’s abusive treatment of her. When Walter was portrayed, he was still involved with Walter and enjoyed having the two women fight each other.

Walter once confronted Dora Maar in Picasso’s studio, claiming that the artist’s new muse would leave. Picasso continued to paint while they insisted, before Walter turned to him. Which of us are you going to? He later recalled: For various reasons, I liked both. Marie Therese was sweet and kind and did whatever I wanted to do. Dora is smart … I told them they had to fight for themselves. So they started fighting. Picasso later called the case one of his “most selective memories.”

The truth was that the artist wanted the viewer to see him own many muses, not just one romantic muse. In the double portrait from 1937, “”Femmeau béreta tararobe quadrillée (1937), Marl’s half profile is intertwined with Walter’s profile. Fusing the face of his muse, Picasso looks proud on the canvas. He wasn’t subtle about how to abuse his lovers. The painter once declared that “there are only two types of women, the goddess and the doormat.”

In ancient Greek mythology, the muse was the former. There were nine goddesses that artists, musicians and poets could call to give sacred inspiration to their creations. But in modern times, Picasso was one of many who tried to transfer all his power to a male artist, portraying his talent as innate and obscuring the input of his muse. Picasso was destroying them in his house while promoting these women to goddesses in his masterpiece. Apart from Picasso, Marr suffered from memory weakness. Walter committed suicide.

Picasso wasn’t the only one who abused his muse. Italian sculptor Gian Lorenzo Bernini cut the face of his dishonest model, Costanza Bonarelli. Edward Hopper’s wife, artist Josephine Nibison Hopper, helped her husband start his career. He physically abused her and banned her from painting her. “If there is room for only one of us, it must definitely be him,” she wrote in her diary. Today, she is primarily recognized as an isolated female figure in many of Edward Hopper’s paintings. Paul Gauguin also abused his teenage model in Tahiti in search of a vision of paradise on earth. In 2020, the Royal Academy of London contained a disclaimer accompanying a portrait of a young Polynesian girl who was not only worshiped by Gauguin but also sexually exploited.

Indeed, with #MeToo, galleries have begun to recognize the role of muses that have been overlooked and are often of vital importance. Tate Modern devoted a solo exhibition to Dora Maar in 2019/20, celebrating his photography, photomontage and painting experiments and discussing his profound impact on Picasso’s practice. (Regardless of that relationship, the show would have been good.) Perhaps Met would use millions of things made from Olivier’s body to enrich the collection with the work of a female artist Muse like Marl. For too long, these women were surrounded by golden picture frames, hung on the walls of major museums, and sold for millions of dollars at auctions, but relied on them without gaining credit. While guaranteeing the heritage of the exploited men.

“In my misery, and perhaps in my joy, I place things according to my romance,” Picasso once said. Having made a lot of money from his lovers, it is the artist’s rich to suggest that these partnerships were “unhappy”. His career is based on a woman who deliberately restrained her own needs, career and story. The Patriarch’s account of art history has perpetuated this myth of “Spanish genius”, but the art market continues to take advantage of it.However, it is clear that Picasso, who chose many creative muses, was blackmailed. their talent.

From his first muse to the end, Picasso was keen to claim ownership of each woman in his life.He packaged these individuals and their intimate relationships as sellable products he Profit. But portraiture is a two-way process. The results reveal both the model and the artist. Picasso reveals a man who is obsessed with expressing himself as an Almighty Creator. But if you look again, you may find that he is, like a male artist, a product of his muse throughout history.

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