|Photo by Freeimages.com/Guillaume ROUX|
Soo Kim, The Daily Telegraph, September 14, 2015
A new photography exhibition, curated by Picasso’s grandson, offers a behind-the-scenes look at the world’s greatest artists at work.
A new exhibition in London showcasing intimate images of the seminal artist, Pablo Picasso, among others, at work is curated by the Spanish painter's grandson.
Revealed, launched in collaboration with the luxury hotel group Sofitel, captures artists, including Picasso, Salvador Dalí, Henry Matisse and Jean Cocteau, around the intimate setting of their work studios and homes.
Following exhibits at the Sofitel hotels in New York, Los Angeles and Paris, the 30 photographs chosen by Picasso’s grandson Olivier Widmaier Picasso, the author of the book Picasso, Portrait intime, are now displayed at the Sofitel London St James.
Selected from nearly 1,000 photographs from the exclusive archives of the Paris Match magazine, Mr Picasso hoped to portray "how different artists can be in front of photographers, from shy to extremely comfortable,” he told Telegraph Travel.
The unconventional exhibition setting of a hotel, which he considers to be “essentially a home away from home”, was aimed to simulate the “intimacy of an artist’s studio” he said.
Scenes from the life of Picasso across six photographs form the highlight of the exhibition. As “one of the first artists of his time to accept that success and the spotlight are part of an artist's life”, Picasso had “a natural talent and instinct for posing in a picture and knew what would make a good photograph," his grandson told Telegraph Travel.
“The images I have chosen of my grandfather show not only how comfortable he was with photographers but also how aware and concerned he was about his own public image.
“It's a bit bizarre that he allowed himself to be photographed, as he didn’t really like doing interviews on television and radio because he didn't like the sound of his voice.
“And he never liked to explain his artwork”, preferring to leave it for others to interpret, said Mr Picasso.
“My grandfather was completely accessible only up until the moment he says 'Okay, it's time to work', when he closes the door and needs to be alone. Once he was in his studio, he was alone and no one could really enter that space,” Mr Picasso told Telegraph Travel.
Though Picasso, his grandson believes, “wasn’t the incredibly difficult man that everyone assumed he was”, he was stereotypical in that he lived in a world of organised chaos, as one picture of him in his Cannes villa might suggest. Sitting with his dalmatian and his future final wife, surrounded by all manner of seemingly randomly placed objects, from newspapers and artwork to clothing and instruments, "the disorder of the living room/studio was illusory. Nothing was there by chance. They were all a part of Picasso's world of inspiration, infiltrating every aspect of his daily life".
One of the most candid pictures of Picasso, according to his grandson, is the one of him eating a cooked fish down to its bones, which he later used to create a clay sculpture that day, depicting his resourceful approach to creating art.
Other striking images from the collection include that of Salvador Dali standing next to a woman with a 'Lady Gaga-like' look sitting in an L-shaped glass box, as well as a recreation of Eugene Delacroix’s 'Liberty Guiding the People' painting by Liu Bolin, the Chinese artist known for blending himself into the background of different scenes in his pieces. Some of the more contemporary artists featured include David Hockney sitting back in a Tudor-style chair and Jeff Koons surrounded by various assistants, a favourite of Mr Picasso for its honest portrayal of how individual artists are in fact supported by a team of people to complete a piece.
The exhibiton continues in London until October 30 and will also be exhibited at the Sofitel Legend The Grand Amsterdam and Sofitel Munich Bayerpost later this year.
“I have rediscovered these incredible documents which capture the intimacy of my grandfather and the other major artists featured in the exhibition.
“The way it puts different artists into perspective reveals the diversity of the creative process and the personality of each artists work. It is equally fascinating to discover who has the power ‒ the photographer, or the one being photographed” Mr Picasso said.
'Revealed: A Photography Exhibition by Sofitel', curated by Olivier Widmaier Picasso, is at Sofitel London St James, 6 Waterloo Place, London SW1 ( sofitel.com ), running until October 30. Admission free.
This article was written by Soo Kim from The Daily Telegraph and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.