Under his spell – my life with Picasso


Legendary Pablo historian, curator and granddaughter Diana Widmeier Picasso sits in front of an 18th-century Indian space map in an apartment in Paris. She taught me about a picture of her 4-year-old daughter Luna. “They have such spontaneity, the spirit just flows,” she says in her warm and friendly way. “It’s like Picasso, isn’t it?”

It brings us neatly to her two upcoming projects. The first is an exhibition at the Picasso Museum. Maya Luis Picasso, the mother of the Picasso Museum, is Picasso’s eldest daughter, born of a relationship with Marie-Thérèse Walter.The second is a book Picasso Sosha.. Almost half a century after his death, the existence of her grandfather continues to be very close.

Portrait de Marie-Thérèse Walter, 1937, by Pablo Picasso © Photo Josse / © Succession Picasso / DACS, London 2022 / Bridgeman Images

Widmeier Picasso was born in 1974, the year after his grandfather died at the age of 91. She first grew up in Marseille and then in Paris with her mother and her father Pierre Widmeier (a shipping mogul) and two older brothers. “When I was born, my grandfather’s fame was almost greater than his art,” she recalls. “I didn’t want to talk about Picasso. I wanted to explore the world.” She studied law and art history at Sotheby’s University and headed the Old Master’s drawing department before joining Sotheby’s. .. But in 2005, she left to focus on the work of her grandfather. “It’s hard to escape,” she meditates. She “felt more involved in his legacy.” She set up the DWP edition. Catalog raisonne Picasso’s Sculpture-A catalog of four projected volumes still in progress. “I don’t even know if I can fully understand this work,” she adds.

In the meantime, she wrote numerous essays about her grandfather, from “Picasso and Marie-Thérèse Walter: Erotic Passion and Mysterious Union” to “About Picasso and Hip-Hop,” and has already held the following exhibitions: It is summarized. Picasso mania At the Grand Palais in Paris. She did another curation about her mother in Paris a few years ago, which was “curated with the Picasso Museum collection and her education director Emilia Filipo”. It’s perfect, “she says. “This is the first compilation of an important ensemble of 14 Maya painted portraits and is a nearly complete collection. What’s fascinating is evolution.”

Diana Widmeier Picasso – Pablo Picasso's Granddaughter – Taken at Home in Paris
Diana Widmeier Picasso – Pablo Picasso’s Granddaughter – Taken at Home in Paris © Marion Berrin

For Serena Cattane Adorno, director of Gagosian Paris, Widmeier Picasso’s “knowledge and insight into Picasso’s work is academic but personal. She turns her research into a grandfather’s practice and becomes a personal frontier. Change. “Obviously, it’s a thin line to step on. She summarizes the 2011 exhibition, Picasso and Marie Therese: Lamour FuWith artist biographer John Richardson, “It was very emotional. The show was a homage to love and desire. You really felt this central attraction-people enter the room. To the point where I start crying. ”

Picasso’s romantic life remains controversial. John Richardson describes her relationship with Walter as follows: Marina Picasso (Picasso’s first wife’s granddaughter, Russian ballerina Olga Khokhlova) further states: [women] They were tamed, spelled, ingested, and crushed on his canvas to suit his sexuality, “she wrote. Widmaier Picasso is a little more generous. “He was always ahead of the curve. Today people want the truth, and I think he was honest with his feelings towards women.

Picasso's mistress and model Marie-Thérèse Walter was filmed in 1945 with her daughter Maya Luis Picasso. She is Maya, the mother of Diana Widmeier Picasso.

Picasso’s mistress and model Marie-Thérèse Walter was filmed in 1945 with her daughter Maya Luis Picasso. Maya is the mother of Diana Widmeier Picasso © Shutterstock

1955 in Cannes with Picasso and his daughter Maya (right) and French actress Véra Clouzot (left)

Picasso and his daughter Maya (right) and French actress Vera Clouzot (left) in Cannes 1955 © Getty Images

Maya with Doll, 1938

Maya with Doll, 1938 © Succession Picasso / DACS, London 2022 / Bridgeman Images

Maya, now 86, has firmly supported her father’s memory. Her expertise in his artwork has been regularly sought by international auction houses, art dealers and collectors. “I immediately felt it was my mission,” she said. “First and foremost, I wanted to protect her father’s work and ensure that it was respected,” she adds to her daughter’s work. I think this exhibition is a successful attempt to express this sacred spirit that connects us all. ”

When Maya was born, Picasso stopped painting for a while and focused on poetry. His surrealist-inspired text notes are included in the Picasso Museum show. Other highlights include a photo of Edward Quinn on the set of Henri-Georges Crusoe, showing Maya and his father at the age of 20. Mystery of Picasso, And sketchbooks that weren’t seen before, some combining father and daughter penmanship. “I also co-author and co-produce a film about Maya that will be shown at the end of the exhibition,” says Widmeier Picasso. Another room is dedicated to what she calls her “souvenir”. “These are those kept by Picasso, those kept by her grandmother, those kept by her mother. They have clothes and shoes, but also hair and nails.”

These personal belongings are related to the Widmaier Picasso book. Researched and written with French anthropologist Philippe Charlier, she says, this work presents a “whole new angle” to her grandfather, deeply involved in her superstitions and spiritual beliefs. .. Someone who kept his nail clippings to make sure they weren’t used to cast magic on him. A person who values ​​everyday things and does not throw away anything. “Dust too!” Exclaims Widmaier Picasso. “Picasso was obsessed with dust. He didn’t want to clean it because it was a way to know when things were moved, but he also saw it as a layer of mental protection. rice field.”

Le Rêve, 1932, portrait of 22-year-old Marie-Thérèse Walter

Le Rêve, 1932, portrait of 22-year-old Marie-Thérèse Walter © Succession Picasso / DACS, London 2022 / Bridgeman Images

Picasso with Maya in a bullfight in Vallauris, France, 1955
Picasso with Maya in a bullfighting in Vallauris, France, 1955 © Museum of New Zealand Te Papatongarewa / © Brian Brake. All copyright owned 2022 / Bridgeman Images

The book portrays Picasso as a “magician in the strict sense of the word,” says Charlie, a forensic research expert who examined the bodies of Richard Lionheart and Louis IX. “His art used all the elements of the human body as raw materials, including blood, urine, hair, nails, and even excrement, and was packed with a magical process to create it!”

“The excrement is very interesting,” says Widmaier Picasso. “Picasso used a portion of it in a still life to create an apple. He turns it into a noble material.” Nature Morteau Pichetet à la Pomme, Created on February 19, 1938. Excrement by the favor of young Maya. It will be exhibited at the Picasso Museum.

Not all efforts of Widmaier Picasso are related to her grandfather. She is a councilor of MoMAPS1 in New York, a board member of the KW Institute for Contemporary Art in Berlin, and is involved with Tate and Met. Another side business is the jewelry brand Menet, which was launched in 2017 with entrepreneur Royseberg. The premise was to create classic 24-karat gold and platinum jewelery that would serve as an investment as well as a decoration. “On our website, customers can buy, sell and exchange jewelery by weight at the prevailing daily price of gold estimated in the international bullion market,” Sebag explains. To do.

Widmaier Picasso:

Widmaier Picasso: “He was always ahead of the curve” © Marion Berrin

Marie Therese Abeck Une Gilande (1937)

Marie Therese Abeck Une Gillande (1937) © SuperStock / Succession Picasso / DACS, London 2022 / Bridgeman Images

The brand went public shortly after launch and has grown 50% year-on-year since then. Widmaier Picasso’s design team is headed by former Kenzo and Missoni’s creative Sunjoo Moon. Playful charms and pendants are offered along with classic chain bracelets, necklaces with oval links or woven cords like ropes, and snake-shaped stud earrings. There are some Picasso references-for example, the Minotaur and the Dove, and he loved gold.But when Mené released the artist version in 2019, it was with Louise Bourgeois, not him, and translated her famous one. Hysterical arch When Spider Engraving on the pendant. It’s obviously nice to do something that has nothing to do with the family name. “And it’s a success!”

Her grandfather’s work, however, holds a certain hold and she has no problem with that relationship. “I think everyone in my family, and in the world, has his own Picasso,” she says. “Names are about talent, genius, and freedom. There’s no reason not to be proud.”

Maya Luis-Picasso: Fillet de Pablo It is located at the Picasso Museum from April 16th to January 21st. Picasso Sosha Published in French by Gallimard Publishing in April (19 euros).English translation will continue later this year


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