Pablo Picassos immediate family circle was portrayed in his work, and the members of his family became fundamental referents through his oeuvre. This is apparent from the endless number of portraits that he made of them. In them, the artist projected his talent, technical skill and ability to go beyond the classical boundaries of expression.
Pablo Picasso. Family Album brings together a significant group of portraits from the private collections of the artists own heirs. Produced between 1906 and 1971, many of the works on display are inspired by the female companions with whom Picasso shared his life, and the subject of motherhood features in a number of them. His children also feature in several of the portraits, in which a great sense of tenderness can be seen. Together, these works draw the viewer into a place where the private and the artistic coexist, and in which the boundaries between life and art are blurred.
In formal terms, these 44 artworks, which include oil paintings, drawings, sculptures, lino cuts and engravings, suggest complex ideas on the notion of identity and the versatile creativity of an artist who transcended all the canons. Pablo Picasso. Family Album enables us to examine the way Picassos pictorial language underwent transformations throughout his work: his new, revolutionary and ever-changing gaze endlessly revised and questioned the canons established by art history.
Another feature worth mentioning is the way the artist innovated with a genre like portraiture, which until the 19th century had been expected to provide a faithful image of the sitters appearance and personality. He managed to carry out this reinvention by employing an outstanding and extensive expressive vocabulary that has made both the gaze and the lines in these portraits unmistakably Picassos.
The works in this exhibition summarize Picassos capacity for synthesis. It was a skill that enabled him to construct a faithful and identifiable image of his model, at times with a minimum of lines. It also invites us to think about how, with Cubism, Picasso dealt with multiple vantage points in a single face, and how this alteration of classical perspective enabled the artist to portray a reality which is also diverse.
Lastly, the notion of identity as a set of multiple, changing features was a novel concept that arose during the 20th century, which Picasso accepted and depicted. In an interview, the Peruvian painter Cossio del Pomar asked him how important likeness was in a portrait. The Master replied: Not at all. To me, its not important to know if an accurate portrait bears a resemblance to the sitter or not. The result can be beautiful even if there is no conventional likeness. (Cossio del Pomar, Felipe. Con los buscadores del camino. Madrid: Ediciones Ulises, 1932, page 129)
The exhibition is complemented by a selection of 73 photographs, some of which have been provided on loan for the occasion by Picassos heirs. Through them we are able to discover people who were part of his private life, in instances of the more everyday side of the artist. Several of these photographs have never been removed from the familys private photo albums, so that this is the first time they have ever been on public display.
To coincide with the exhibition, MPM has produced a documentary film directed by Thierry Spitzer, in which Christine Ruiz-Picasso, Claude Ruiz-Picasso, Françoise Gilot and John Richardson share their personal memories of the time they spent with the Malaga-born artist. The film is screened on a continuous loop in the Palacio de Buenavista projection room.
Museo Picasso Málaga has also published in Spanish and English a catalogue for Pablo Picasso. Family Album. The book contains texts by the curator and artistic director of MPM, José Lebrero Stals; by Jean Clair and by Olivier Widmaier Picasso.
When love becomes art
This year, Museo Picasso Malaga
celebrates its 10th Anniversary. The exhibition Picasso. Family Album is intended to express our gratitude to the artists family and heirs, who over the past ten years have given their solid support to this museum. Therefore many of the works come from the private collections of the heirs of Pablo Picasso, as well as from Museu Picasso, Barcelona and Museo Picasso Málagas own collection.
Held on the occasion of the 10th Anniversary of Museo Picasso Málaga, this exhibition and its accompanying catalogue have been made possible thanks to the collaboration of Fundacion Almine y Bernard Ruiz-Picasso para el Arte and the family of Pablo Picasso: Catherine Hutin- Blay, Claude Ruiz-Picasso, Eric and Paloma Thévenet-Picasso, Marina Picasso, Maya Widmaier Picasso, Olivier Widmaier Picasso and Diana Widmaier Picasso. And particularly to Christine Ruiz-Picasso and to Bernard Ruiz-Picasso, founders of this institution, for their continuous support.