Picasso 1932 opened under the alternative name of Picasso 1932. Année érotique (trans. erotic year) at the Musée national Picasso, in Paris, on October 10, 2017. This is a more straight forward analysis of the artworks than the name given to the exhibition when it opened at the Tate Modern, London, on March 8, 2018, though, ‘Love, Fame, Tragedy’ is certainly the underlying context of Picasso’s année érotique.
The Weeping Woman (1937), is one of many paintings of Dora Maar by Picasso. When it comes to the Maar portraits, Picasso was sending a message, often to Maar herself. The portrait is representative of the way he perceived her, and it is said that when Picasso depicted Maar with a hat on her head it was, to him, a sign of madness – her madness.
Diego Seated (1948) is free and yet constrained portrait of the artist’s brother. The freedom of Giacometti’s linework, for this painting, is constrained by box-like lines surrounding the sitter, and the multiple layers of paint that make up his signature linework. It’s difficult to tell whether the sitter was etched onto the canvas or etched out of the paint.
Le Palais des Merveilles (1907-1927) is a celebration of life and sexuality. The figures are the most significant component of the painting’s narrative, depicting the theatrics of life. There are nine women and one man, ten women if you include a small statuette which stands on the far right of the canvas. The skin tones of the women are varied, although mostly Caucasian, there is one black woman, who is gypsy-like, with each woman depicting her own character. These bare-breasted maidens, ooze with sexuality, with sexual connotations in the hands of many.
In 1969, Random House commissioned surrealist painter, Salvador Dalí, to produce 13 illustrations, 12 in full colour, for a new edition of Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. The unity of Carroll’s ability to deliver an unconventional fairy-tale and Dalí’s ability to push the limits of reality was an ingenious pairing.