“These pictures are unbelievably true to life. Everything’s here: my little girl’s clothes, my hair, even my toys and yet…”
Maya Ruiz-Picasso, 1996
Gagosian is pleased to present “Picasso and Maya: Father and Daughter,” the first exhibition of Maya’s own childhood as seen through her father’s works.
Maria de la Concepción, known as Maya, was born on September 5, 1935. She was the main subject, for the first ten years of her life, of numerous drawings and paintings by her father, who observed with fascination and tenderness her physical and mental development. Her mother, Marie-Thérèse Walter, was the artists’ most iconic model, and his secret love since 1927. After Maya’s birth, Picasso chronicled intimate details of their private life together en famille, exploring the archetypal theme of maternity. Maya’s portraits reflect the great joy that she brought into the artist’s life, even on the eve of the Second World War. She would become the most frequently depicted of Picasso’s children—a muse, like her mother.
This exhibition will show major works from the 1930s and the 1940s, including a collection of intimate portraits of Maya and Marie-Thérèse, sculptures and little paper cuts-out fashioned especially for his daughter. Like many of his favorite portraits of family members, most of the pieces remained in Picasso’s personal collection until his death in 1973. Alongside the artist’s works, a selection of archival material—unpublished photographs, films, letters and poems—will explore the relationship between father and daughter, while providing an invaluable testimony of this new-found happiness.
Maya’s daughter, art historian Diana Widmaier-Picasso, is curating the show. She is a Picasso sculpture expert and has organized several exhibitions including “Picasso’s Picassos: A Selection from the Collection of Maya Ruiz-Picasso” (Gagosian, New York, 2016), “Picasso.mania” (Grand Palais, Paris, 2015) and “Picasso and Marie-Thérèse: L’amour fou” (Gagosian, New York, 2011). In 2005, she wrote a book about Picasso’s erotic works called Picasso: “Art Can Only Be Erotic” (Munich, Prestel).
A fully illustrated catalogue, with an essay by Professor Emeritus Elizabeth Cowling, will be produced to commemorate the exhibition.
For the first time in Paris, Gagosian Shop will also present a pop-up store in the Paris gallery’s vitrine, featuring all things Picasso, curated by Gagosian’s rare book specialist Douglas Flamm, and running concurrently with the exhibition.