#16 Picasso at the AGO

Warning! This is your last chance to see Picasso at the AGO! It will be on until Sunday August 26th! It is a great exhibition and you don't want to miss it.

Picasso, Dora Maar, 1937

About a month ago, I went to see the Picasso exhibit at the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO). Although I have seen Picasso's works before, it was my first time seeing his solo exhibition. There were about seven rooms, filled with the genius painter's works. Each room was dedicated to the artist's personal life stage with a different style- from classical to cubism, and paintings depicting his personal relationships. The works in the exhibition are the ones the artist chose to keep for his own benefit. After seeing the exhibition, it made me think about the artist's life style influencing his works. As I was browsing through the galleries of the AGO, I wondered about Camal how his life can be evident in his works.

Picasso, Olga Khokhlova

Picasso had many women in life, and each woman had a great impact on the style of Picasso’s paintings. The first woman is Fernande Olivier (1881-1966), who inspired Picasso’s transition to his Rose Period from his Blue Period in favour of a lighter palette, idealized forms and lively subjects. She was also a model for Les Demoiselles d’Avignon (1907) – one of the most famous paintings by the artist. Olga Khokhlova (1891-1954) was the first wife of Picasso. There grew a split between the two as Olga desired for upper-class life, completely opposite from Picasso’s bohemian style. Olga only wanted to be depicted in classical styles, as you can see in Picasso's unfinished portrait of her. Picasso’s melancholy state of mind in his marriage life with Olga is well reflected in paintings of this period such as in The Village Dance (1922).

Picasso, Reclining woman reading (Marie-Therese Walter), 1935

 You can see Picasso developing specific pictorial vocabularies for each mistress – Marie-Therese Walter (1909-1977) and Dora Maar (1907-1997). Marie-Therese’s full-bodied frame and her submissive characteristic made her an ideal model for Picasso, allowing him to explore extreme physical and psychological states, leading Picasso’s Surrealist phase depicting a human figure with imaginary and distorted forms. Dora’s intellectual and emotional challenging character can be illustrated by acidic colours and angular forms, whereas Marie-Therese is rendered with pastel tones and sensual curves, which represent her gentle and sweet personality. You can really see the comparison of the two mistresses in the paintings (compare the image above, and the first image). As you can see from these examples, women played an important part of Picasso's life, therefore, for Picasso, women allowed him to explore new artistic styles and skills.

Camal and Heidi at Gardiner Museum, 2011

For Camal, his biggest inspiration seems to be his three year old daughter Heidi. As I have mentioned in my previous entry, my favourite piece "Teddy Bear Curtain" is inspired by Heidi. There is also another piece "Giant Teddy" that used to hang in the bay window at a gallery in Yorkville. Whether you are an artist or not, everyone has something special that they want to cherish. As an artist, you tend to express something that's special to you in your work. It could be the subject matter and the style formed by characteristic of something, in this case of someone.

1 comment:

  1. i completely forgot about this! i've been wanting to go for a while but i just had so much to do this summer... but thanks for your post! i got a good glimpse of what the exhibition was about.. :)