The art dealers Gagosian, New York, in partnership with members of the Picasso family, present an exhibition in honour of their late friend and colleague, Sir John Richardson, the eminent biographer of Picasso who died in March 2019. The exhibition Picasso’s Women: Fernande to Jacqueline, features paintings and sculptures showing the central role and influence of the many women in Picasso’s life.
The exhibition runs until 22 June 2019 at Gagosian, 980 Madison Avenue, New York. Richardson had previously organized six major exhibitions of Picasso’s work at Gagosian. In the early 1960s, John Richardson was planning to write a study of Picasso’s portraits and spent hours with the artist, poring over reproductions of his works. As Picasso spoke about the complexities of his pictorial thinking—pointing out, for example, that a portrait of Dora Maar might also contain elements referring to her romantic predecessor Marie-Thérèse Walter, and her successor Françoise Gilot—Richardson began to believe that a detailed biographical treatment of Picasso’s portraiture would close a notable gap in Picasso scholarship. Decades later he would sit down to write what would become the monumental multivolume biography, A Life of Picasso.
Picasso was as eclectic in his choice of muse as he was in style: the bohemian Fernande Olivier; disciplined Olga Khokhlova; blonde Venus Marie-Thérèse; passionate artists Dora and Françoise; Sylvette David, the young woman with a high ponytail; and Jacqueline Roque, the devoted, romantic beauty. Not merely mute muses, Fernande and Françoise published memoirs; Olga and Marie-Thérèse kept extensive archives of photographs and letters over decades; Dora gave interviews to researchers and documented Picasso’s work and private life in photographs.