Saturday, August 18, 2018

Famous Ephebophile: Pablo Picasso

Marie-Thérèse and Pablo Picasso

In a March 2018 piece in The Guardian, "Muse, lover, lifeblood: how my grandmother woke the genius in Picasso", Olivier Widmaier Picasso wrote about his grandmother, Marie-Thérèse Walter, and her "secret life" with Picasso. 

Olivier shared how his grandparents met:

On Saturday 8 January 1927, in the late afternoon, my [married 45-year-old] grandfather noticed a young woman [17-year-old Thérèse Walterthrough the window of the Galeries Lafayette in Paris. He waited until she came out, then greeted her with a big smile. 

“Mademoiselle, you have an interesting face. I would like to paint your portrait.” He added: “I’m sure we shall do great things together. I’m Picasso.”

 "[...] I found him charming.” [Consequently] Marie-Thérèse kept the appointment [...] They started a conversation which was renewed every day [...] Meanwhile, he drew Marie-Thérèse frenziedly.

[17-year-old] Marie-Thérèse coiffée d'un béret, 1927

“[Due to Picasso's marriage to Olga] [m]y life with him was always secret,” Marie-Thérèse said. “Calm and peaceful. We said nothing to anyone. We were happy like that, and we did not ask anything more.” 

This “Marie-Thérèse period” generated drawings and engravings of exceptional force [...] This would give rise to busts, imposing heads of women and a series of portraits that Marie-Thérèse illuminates with her blond hair – it includes The Dream

Pablo Picasso The Dream (Le Rêve) 1932

In the summer of 1933, the family went to Cannes, and then to Barcelona. But the storm was brewing. Pablo got Marie-Thérèse to come in secret and installed her in a nearby hotel. And once back in Paris, he started, for the first time, to investigate the possibility of divorce [...] as divorce was now permitted by the recently established Spanish Republic. “And then one day I found I was pregnant,” Marie-Thérèse would later recount.

(The divorce never happened due to Olga's objection and after the Spanish civil war, Franco re-abolished of divorce.)

[...] in September 1939, Marie-Thérèse and [her daughter] Maya were on holiday in Royan, north of Bordeaux, and stayed there until the spring of 1941. Picasso concealed from Marie-Thérèse the existence of Dora Maar, a photographer and his mistress since the summer of 1936. He arranged for my grandmother and their daughter to return to Paris, to a flat on Île Saint-Louis. My grandparents’ relationship had now lasted 14 years. 

Hannah Furness wrote in The Telegraph piece "Picasso's muses: artist's own collection starring six women he loved on sale for the first time" that Marie-Thérèse hung herself four years after Picasso's death.