Like Byron, Pablo Picasso seems to have been “mad, bad and dangerous to know”. I heartily recommend Sue Roe’s ‘In Montmatre’ for an insight into the early work of Picasso, Matisse et al. It was a delight to read and made going to see his ‘Woman Sleeping in a Chair’ from 1927 at The Barber Institute such a good plan.
You don’t often get a gallery to yourself, so going early on a Monday just because it was the only gallery in Birmingham open that day was such a brilliant idea – I also got to get up close and personal with Turner’s ‘The Sun Rising Through Vapour’ http://barber.org.uk/joseph-mallord-william-turner-1775-1851/ But that’s another story.
The painting is allegedly of his mistress Marie-Therese Walter and the story goes that he saw her walking in the street, approached and said, “Mademoiselle, you have an interesting face. I would like to paint your portrait. I am Picasso’. Week later, they were lovers – well, you would, wouldn’t you!
The painting is intriguing as he was also having problems with his marriage – quelle surprise! The rounded, undulating figure and closed eyes are in start contrast to the open mouth, with its sharp teeth and even sharper tongue. A spectacular visitor to a beautiful gallery.