Picasso at Work, Through the Lens of David Douglas Duncan
In the 20th century, a strong relationship existed between painters and photographers. Photographers would often take portraits of painters, and would even observe and photograph, painters at work. This was a symbiotic relationship whereby photographers added to their portfolio of work, while painters gained publicity through the photographs taken of them. This relationship also created an illusion of intimacy between the painter, his creation, and the viewer – an intimacy that had not previously existed.
Picasso at Work, through the lens of David Douglas Duncan, at the Musée d’Art et d’Histoire in Geneva, features 150 of Picasso’s works (paintings, sculptures, drawings, ceramic pieces and engravings), displayed alongside the photographs of David Douglas Duncan. Duncan selected over 100 photographs from the thousands that he personally took, between 1956 and 1973, of Picasso and his milieu. The photos reveal Duncan’s remarkable acuity, as well as his complicity to work with his model. The variety of photos that Picasso and Duncan composed together shows the novelty of this type of partnership, at the time.
In 1956, Duncan, an American photographer, assumed the task of documenting the life and work of Pablo Picasso. His wife, Jacqueline Roque-Picasso, was involved in the project, which took place at their villa in Cannes, La Californie. The photographs show all aspects of Picasso’s life, before he was one of the most famous artists in the world. The marvelous disorder of his studio, the enviable physique of this sprightly septuagenarian, and the impassive beauty of his partner and children at play, are laid-bare for all to see – everything was captured on camera!
The exhibition shows an array of photographs next to some of Picasso’s contemporary works – some of which even appear in the photos themselves. There are also portraits of Jacqueline, as well as Les Baigneurs à la Garoupe – one of the major pieces in the collection of the Musée d’art et d’histoire. Les Baigneurs, painted in1957, was generously donated to the Museum by Marina Picasso, Pablo’s granddaughter.
There are many good reasons to make a trip to Musée d’Art et d’Histoire, but this is definitely an exhibition you shouldn’t miss! The exhibition opens this Tuesday, October 30 and runs until February 3, 2013.
The museum is located at Rue Charles-Galland, 2 1206 Genève.