The studio is where strange magic happens, as much for the artist’s imagination as for the public’s. It’s the conjuring place of new concepts, styles, or forms. Sometimes it even comes to be seen as sacred, a place where visitors become pilgrims to the altar of art.
The alluring mystique of the modern artist in his studio may have found its archetypal expression in Pablo Picasso. His most iconic portraits depict women in the studio, like those of Dora Maar, his “private muse.” In 2001, the Cleveland Museum of Art exhibition and accompanying catalogue Picasso: The Artist’s Studio explored the artist’s work in the context of his workspace. And the theme has endured; Picasso: In the Studio was the subject of a spring 2016 issue of the journal Cahiers d’Artand a show in its Paris gallery featuring previously unpublished photographs of the artist at work—where else?—in the studio.
During the summer and autumn of 1946, Michel Sima photographed Picasso in black and white, in his workshop at the Grimaldi castle. Michel Sima, whose true name was Michal Smajewski, a sculptor and photographer of Polish origin, student of the Grande Chaumiere academy and assistant of Ossip Zadkine in 1934, had become acquainted with Picasso in Paris. During the summer of 1946, while living in Cannes with Romuald Dor Souchere, after his return from three years of deportation to Auschwitz, Sima arranged an interview between the curator of the Grimaldi museum and the artist, on a beach at Golfe-Juan Dor de la Souchere then offered Picasso, expressing his disappointment at never having received large surfaces to be decorated from the State, a part of the castle to work in, from the afternoon until late in the evening. Certain platesbySimaplay withthelight contrast created bythetwocinema projectors which had been leased to the Victorine studio, in Nice, for Picasso. The artist played his part by posing regularly in front of his work, alone, in the company of Francoise Gilot or in the company of his friends the Eluards, setting the subject, seated on a mattress, upright front of his paint pots, or concentrated on his work resting directly in on the ground. These glimpses are a unique testimony that make it possible not only to seize the atmosphere of the workshop, but also to better understand the progress of Picasso work, the stages of creation and the modifications performed on works before their final state.
Last year French art publishing house and gallery Cahiers d'Art presented an exhibition accompanied by the latest issue of the Cahiers d’Art revue, both entitled Picasso: in the Studio, devoted to Pablo Picasso and the various techniques in which the artist was most profilic. The exhibition and the issue offer an exceptional close look at the artist in his studio as you have never seen him.
HIGHLIGHTS OF THE EXHIBITION PICASSO: IN THE STUDIO
The exhibition illustrates the way in which Picasso worked in the various studios and highlights his practices and numerous techniques. It provides a captivating and unique perspective of the environment in which he developed his work through rare and previously unpublished photographs. Thus, the viewer discovers the artist’s sculpture studio in Boisgeloup in 1931-1932 through remarkable photographs from the Archives Olga Ruiz-Picasso (courtesy Fundación Almine y Bernard Ruiz-Picasso para el Arte). The viewer is then invited to discover Picasso in the Madoura ceramics studio, photographed by Yves Manciet between 1948 and 1953, his Le Fournas studio in Vallauris captured by the lens of Edward Quinn in 1953 and his home and studio in Mougins where Lee Miller photographed the presentation of the tapestry Femmes à leur toilette. To lean more: www.artsy.net/show/cahiers-dart-picasso-in-the-
A Brief History of the Artist’s StudioARTSY EDITORIAL
BY GEORGE PHILIP LEBOURDAIS
and Grimaldi castle Picasso Museum catalogue information