Marie-Thérèse Walter was Picasso’s lover, if not his wife, for most of her life. The exhibition Picasso and Marie-Thérèse: L’Amour Fou up at Gagosian through June 25th is a museum-quality exploration of Picasso’s many iterations of the blonde, Grecian-nosed woman using works borrowed from private collections and prestigious museums. The likelihood of seeing such a gathering, especially some of the privately owned works again is rare, a reason in itself to visit.
The works themselves are of mixed quality, but there are some truly fantastic pieces in themselves. What I enjoyed even more was the story the show told; a romantic one of continuing if not untroubled love. Marie-Thérèse became Picasso’s mistress at 17, bore him a child, and committed suicide after his death, 50 years after they met. He painted her throughout his life.
“I see you before me my lovely landscape MT and never tire of looking at you, stretched out on your back in the sand, my dear MT I love you. MT my devouring rising sun. You are always on me, MT mother of sparkling perfumes pungent with star jasmines. I love you more than the taste of your mouth, more than your look, more than your hands, more than your whole body, more and more and more and more than all my love for you will ever be able to love and I sign Picasso.” – Letter to Marie-Thérèse from Picasso
A great slideshow on the WSJ site shows many of the pieces.