In 1954, when Picasso was 73, he started living with 27 year old Jacqueline Roque – his last love, wife and muse – and thus began a prolific burst of creativity for the artist who was already regarded as the greatest living painter of the time. During this period, Picasso painted many portraits of Jacqueline – using her as the subject in his reworkings of old masters like Delacroix, Velázquez, and Manet. He also paid tribute to his rival and friend Henri Matisse who had recently passed showing odalisques as Matisse often did.
Nearly 140 of these works are on view now at the Pace Gallery in New York from Oct 31, 2014 – Jan 10, 2015. Picasso & Jacqueline: The Evolution of Style showcases Pablo Picasso in the last 20 years of his life. The exhibition features never-before-seen works from the family of Picasso, the estate of Jacqueline Roque, private collections and borrowed works from major museums like the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Museum of Modern Art.
Works across many mediums are on display from sculptures, to drawings, to etchings and paintings. The highlight is eleven works from a series titled Les Femmes d’Alger [The Women of Algiers] (1954-1955) which was inspired by Eugène Delacroix’s 1834 painting of the same title and was also a tribute to Matisse in its use of abstraction and subject. This exhibition is the most complete showing of this series with five out of fifteen oil paintings, etchings, aquatint and oil studies since the paintings were bought by American collectors Victor and Sally Ganz in 1956.
Also showing are 50 plus historical photographs by David Douglas Duncan, a central documentary photographer of the 20th century and a confidant of Picasso. Duncan had unfettered access to the artist’s studio and homes and captured many private moments between the painter and Jacqueline.
If you are anywhere near New York this winter, this is a must-see. With so many pieces available for viewing, this exhibition is a rare opportunity to take in such a comprehensive showing of the last works of one of the greatest painters that ever lived.
(images from Pace Gallery)