Breakfast with Picasso

When I went to Seattle a few months ago, I found this amazing issue of Life allll about Picasso. Literally all about Picasso. The whole thing. I finally found time to sit down and read some of it Saturday morning. Turns out Picasso was quite the legendary ladies man. I guess the whole starting-a-revolutionary-art-movement thing would have been kind of a turn on...

Want to meet his ladies? Here are a few excerpts from good ol' Life Mag.

Fernande: Beautiful, voluptuous, warm and lazy - at first Fernande was like a purring cat. She was 21 and Picasso 22 when they met in the summer of 1904. He dragged her to his studio, he painted her in adoring rose, and Fernande curled up for eight inspired years. His flaming jealousy kept her a virtual recluse... When at last Picasso quit her to run off with one of her friends, Fernande gathered up her collection of perfume and drifted off into wistful silence for over 20 years.

 

Eva: "I love her very much and I shall write her name on my pictures," Picasso declared in the first summer of his short life with Eva, Fernande's "small and perfect" friend. Doll-like in her kimono, docile among his friends, Eva died at the end of 1915, after four years with Picasso, surviving only as the "Ma Jolie" of his cubist years.

 

Olga: Decorous Olga Koklova, a dancer with the Ballets Russes, entered Picasso's life on a trip to Rome in the spring of 1917, and Picasso was moved to adopt a neoclassical style to praise her with idealized portraits... Olga gave up the ballet to stay with Picasso, but kept up with her dancing. Their son Paulo, born in 1921, brought Picasso briefly the simple joys of fatherhood.

 

Marie-Thérèse: She was 17 when Picasso stopped her on a Paris street. Picasso was 30 years older. It was impossible to resist him - she became his model, his mistress, discreetly tucked away behind the scenes. Picasso rewarded her uncomplicating love with gifts of pigeons and with portraits...

 

Dora Maar: Dora Maar was somebody - a painter, a photographer, and a surrealist, in fact. Picasso met her at the Café Deux-Magots in 1936 and courted her with a drawing that made obvious his awareness of the 30 years difference in their ages... Only a year later, Dora had become "the weeping woman" of another long sequence of portraits in which the torment that had once existed only as a depth of her beauty became overpowering anguish.

 

Françoise: Picasso was approaching 65 when he began a second try at family life with Françoise Gilot, who was in her early 20s. His joie de vivre soon became felt in a fresh new period in his work... Picasso seemed sublimely content at the infusion of his old love for the seashore with the new love of Françoise and their year-old son Claude. Picasso's youthful joy is celebrated also in the drawing of the centaur family. A few years later, he had passed his 70th birthday and seemed to be gamboling far afield in a new demonstration of virility. He was still playing tug-of-war on the beach with Françoise, but they were also playing tug-of-war at home. In the fall of 1953 Françoise and Picasso pulled apart and she left.

 

Jacqueline: In Jacqueline Roque, Picasso finally found the woman to grow old with, and he married her in 1961, when he was 79. Both the drawing done in 1966 and the photograph taken in 1968 show Picasso and his wife touched by love and age.

 

Well Pablo Ruiz Picasso, you little devil... who knew?

Images and excerpts from Life Magazine, Special Double Issue: Picasso