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Picasso at the De Young

June 29, 2011

It’s very near here, the Concourse at Golden Gate Park. I’m a member of the Fine Arts Museums of SF, so admission would be free (or at least, covered by my annual membership).  It was a weekday, and it was raining. So why not go to the Picasso exhibition at the De Young?

As usual, they did not permit photography inside the exhibition, but no one seemed to mind photos in the hall outside, which is where this was taken. It features one of the most striking pictures in the show, a portrait of Dora Maar. She was also an artist and photographer, brilliant and sharp-edged. (This poster shows the picture many times its actual size; it’s really fairly small.)

The exhibition was beautifully presented, showing not only Picasso’s path as an artist, but also his relationship with the multiple women in his life: His girlfriends Fernande Olivier and “Eva Gouel”; his ballerina wife Olga Khoklova; his mistress Marie-Therese Walter with whom he had a long affair, secret until she bore his daughter;  Dora Maar, the woman in the picture; Francoise Gilot, mother of his son Claude and his daughter Paloma; and his second wife,  Jacqueline Roque. He generally seemed to cheat on each wife or lover with a younger woman. Each of these women featured in paintings.

I strongly recommend the recorded audio tour (unless of course you’re already knowledgeable about Picasso).  It’s 6 bucks for members (and 7 for others) and is definitely worth it. It puts what might otherwise be a rather overwhelming assemblage of paintings into context.

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