Temporary Exhibition Space 1, Level G
Picasso: Love & War 1935–1945 explores the personal and artistic relationship between Pablo Picasso and his lover and muse of those years, Dora Maar. The exhibition has been curated by Anne Baldassari, Director of the Musée Picasso, Paris. Over 300 works are displayed in this third instalment of the highly successful Melbourne Winter Masterpieces series, a Victorian State Government initiative.
The exhibition focuses on the globally turbulent decade 1935–1945, the period of an extraordinary relationship between Picasso and Dora Maar, who first met in Paris in the winter of 1935–36.
Picasso’s and Dora’s intimate involvement started shortly before the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War in 1936 and lasted throughout the Second World War. Dora was a talented photographer and was at the centre of the Parisian avant-garde.
The two lovers inspired one another intellectually and artistically throughout their time together. The exhibition reveals intimacies of a dialogue between two highly charged artists at a time of romantic connection. As their romance unfolded, Picasso celebrated his love for Dora Maar in sensuous drawings, prints and paintings. In turn, Dora Maar celebrated the couple’s intimacy through exquisite photography.
Shortly after the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War, Picasso created a number of politically charged art works, culminating in his masterpiece Guernica (May-June 1937), which was inspired by the devastation rent by the bombing of this town by the Fascist forces. Today, Guernica is a national treasure that never leaves Spain. In an unprecedented act, Dora Maar carefully recorded the creation of this masterpiece in over fifty photographs taken at various stages of its development. Many of these images were only recently discovered and their showing in Picasso: Love & War 1935-1945 is the first time they will be seen outside Europe.
In the wake of completing Guernica, Picasso embarked on his Weeping women series. This exhibition will also bring together a number of versions of the Weeping woman to join the much loved and iconic painting in the National Gallery of Victoria.
Following the German occupation of Paris in 1940, Picasso lived under the Nazi regime which had in July 1937 declared him a “degenerate artist”. During the war years Picasso created some of the most intense and passionate works of his career. Picasso: Love & War 1935-1945 explores the full range of Picasso’s creativity, through paintings, drawings, prints and photographs from what is arguably the most volatile and dangerous period of his life.