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Affair To Remember: Picasso at PAMM

Famous Painting On Loan To Miami Museum Priceless


Irene Sperber

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Pablo Picasso’s Femme à la montre ("Woman with a Watch") is on view at the Perez Art Museum, downtown Miami, through Oct. 16. The painting (1932) depicts his 17 year old “golden muse,” Marie-Thérèse Walter. While still married to his first wife Olga Khokhlova, a Russian ballerina, Picasso became infatuated with Marie-Therese.

Why should I leave the luxury of my home, trot myself over to PAMM and stare at an oil painting, you ask?

  • First and foremost: It’s a Picasso
  • Second and foremost: It’s a “highly prized” Picasso.
  • Third: The museum (Pritzker Prize-winning architects Herzog & de Meuron) is air conditioned and out of the brutality of Miami’s relentless sunshine and summer storms.

Enhance your appreciation of along revered artist by gazing at this piece in person, a work from his prolific middle years. A good deal of the pieces produced in 1932 are in major museum collections around the world. Another stellar reason to pop a visit into your calendar. Don’t let summer sloth keep you from experiencing the joys of our city’s exceptional offerings.

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Picasso (1881-1973) kept his entanglement with the 17 year old Marie-Therese Walter a secret for some time given her delicate age and that pesky spousal situation. Naturally the secretive nature of their affair made it all the more delicious to the middle aged artist. Walter had a child with Picasso in 1935. When their daughter was a year old he then took up with Dora Maar. At the end of his days he had amassed two wives and four children by three women.

There is a rumor that he made in the vicinity of 50,000 artworks in his lifespan. I’m lucky if I can watch 50,000 made-for-TV movies in my lifetime much less pour out tens of thousands of substantially original artworks for the world to admire, ponder and pontificate over for millenniums to come.

This particular painting exhibits a style that proffers some deviation from his most established works. The watch is a specific modern detail not usually inserted in his paintings. Walter peers into a hand mirror, an object oft represented in a Picasso during the 1930’s specifically.

“I paint objects as I think them, not as I see them” Picasso reminds us. It is obvious from his treatment of the copious paintings of Marie Therese Walter, how enamored he was of his muse. She was depicted languorously and with great depth of feeling; the lines softer, more voluptuous than his more noted Cubist work. I did observe Marie Therese was later presented with his distinct shaper angles as time wore on, if I may psychoanalyze this great artist (and torture readers) with my plebeian analysis.

Taking the time to read more on Picasso, I came up with this quote which may be duly telling in the timeline of his somewhat cluttered romantic life. “The purpose of art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls.”

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The Perez Art Museum Miami is exhibiting Picasso’s Femme a la Montre on loan from the preeminent philanthropist Emily Fisher Landau collection, a noted collector of post war art in the U.S. The Fisher Landau Center of Art is located in Long Island City, NY. If you wish to know more, visit their web site: www.flcart.org/history/

More than 300 paintings, sculptures, photographs, and works on paper were donated by Fisher Landau to the Whitney Museum of American Art in 2010. (The exhibition of this PAMM work of art has been made possible in part by the generous support of Leslie and Greg Ferrero.)

Thoughts to ponder: “Are we to paint what's on the face, what's inside the face, or what's behind it?” Pablo Picasso

 

PAMM Perez Art Museum, Miami
1103 Biscayne Blvd, Miami, FL 33132

 

pamm.org for more information of the exhibitions, lectures and events continually offered. Make a day of it. The venue is a pleasure from the restaurant, the shop and the stunning views of our skyline.

Also, don’t miss the current topical exhibition The World’s Game: Fútbol and Contemporary Art, the game of soccer, or fútbol, coincides with the 2018 FIFA World Cup (international men’s soccer tournament). (until September 2)

 


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