Almost 40 years after his death, a trove of photographs from Pablo Picasso’s personal archives has just been unveiled by the artist’s grandson, Bernard Ruiz-Picasso. They offer an intimate look at his life and loves, showing him playing with his dogs, spending time with family and friends, and at work in the studio.
Ruiz-Picasso is partnering with New York’s Gagosian Gallery and Picasso biographer John Richardson to show many of these images in a new exhibition, Picasso and the Camera, which explores how photography informed the artist’s work in painting and sculpture. Whether he was recording sculptures in progress to track their development or photographing his lovers to paint their portraits, images from his camera were often fodder for artistic ideas. The images on view spans 60 years, and include many taken by the artist but never before published, alongside the drawings, paintings, and prints these photos helped inspire.
Picasso constantly photographed the women in his life, and painted their portraits from his snapshots in addition to painting them from life. There are countless stunning shots of his first wife, Olga, a Diaghilev dancer with whom Picasso fell madly in love. She’s the green-eyed, dark-haired beauty in paintings like Olga in an Armchair, painted in part from a 1917 photograph of the subject in Picasso’s studio, on view here. The couple’s marriage was a rocky one, and the chronology of photographs tell the story of its decline. In one 1925 shot, she pirouettes in a white tutu and ballet slippers, an outfit she wears in a pencil sketch Group of Dancers: Olga Khoklova Is Lying in the Foreground. In a home movie, she plucks petals from a daisy, mouthing “he loves me, he loves me not.” A later image shows Olga standing in the foreground in her characteristic elegant dress; in the background is a bust of Picasso’s French mistress, Marie-Therese Walter, who was 17 when their relationship began. In an interview with the Guardian, Richardson describes Olga’s life as “sad”: “She turned out to be rather neurotic. It ended badly. She didn’t exactly go crazy, but she became a very wounded woman,” he says. Another mistress, French photographer Dora Maar, whom Picasso called his “private muse” and who was the subject of his famous Weeping Woman, shows up in these photos as well.
Click the slide show above for a selection of the newly released images, from shots of Picasso triumphantly holding Bob, his Great Pyrenees, to Olga pirouetting in a tutu in the summer of 1925.
Picasso and the Camera is on view at New York’s Gagosian Gallery.
[h/t the Guardian]