Tag Archives: picasso

A Slightly Tipsy Bullfighter

cavalier faun 1956 picassoHe’s toasting us with a cocktail.  This interesting plate is part of the current Picasso exhibit at the Winnipeg Art Gallery.  It is titled Cavalier Faun. The creature on the horse is a mythical faun, half goat and half human.  If you look closely you can see his horns.  One of the participants on a tour I led said the faces around the edge depict the crowd seated around the bull fighting ring. 

the cavalier faun picassoWith his drink glass tilted jauntily in one hand the faun isn’t as serious a picador as one might expect to see at a bullfight. His eyes are looking at us the viewers, rather than straight ahead to see where the horse is going. One gallery visitor on a tour I was leading said the line at the bottom of the horse makes it look almost like a toy rocking horse. They thought the horse looked a little bull legged. 

The design The Cavalier Faun served Picasso well.  He used it on many plain white earthenware plates and also on a series of gold medallions. 

le banderillo by picassoPicasso was born in Spain and attended many bullfights.  His fascination with the sport is evidenced in other works currently on display at the Winnipeg Art Gallery like the lino cut above called Le Banderilla. 

Other posts………..

Picasso Not Really a Family Man

Picasso Acrostic

I’m Shattered

Leave a comment

Filed under Art, winnipeg art gallery

Picasso’s Hidden Message

“Are there any hidden messages in the paintings?”  I was starting a tour with some elementary school students at the Winnipeg Art Gallery.  I told them we would be like detectives or explorers looking for interesting details in the art.  One girl put up her hand to ask if I knew of  any hidden or secret messages in the paintings.  Luckily I had an idea where we could find one.  

woman in a hat with flowers dora maar 1944

Women in a Hat With Flowers by Picasso 1944

As we viewed this painting Picasso made of his lover Dora Maar I asked the children if they could find Dora’s name hidden in the painting. It didn’t take them long to pick out the four letters.  Check out the arrows. 

letter D woman in a hat with flowers dora maar 1945

The upper case D

letter o woman in a hat with flowers dora maar 1946

The letter o

letter rwoman in a hat with flowers dora maar 1947

The cursive r

letter a woman in a hat with flowers dora maar 1948

The letter A two ways- a lower case backwards one to the right or an uppercase sideways one to the left

The children thought it was very cool Picasso hid Dora’s name in his painting of her.  It got them searching for hidden messages in every piece of art. The intense looking that inspired helped them discover lots of other interesting things about the artwork they viewed. 

Other posts……..

What in the World is That?

Plants That Talked to Me

Two Artists -Me and My Grandson

Leave a comment

Filed under Art, Education, winnipeg art gallery

Nostalgic Tour

They were from Shanghai and Beijing and Shenzhen and Kunming and many other places I have visited.  I had the pleasure of taking a Chinese community group of Winnipeg residents on a tour of the Picasso exhibit at the Winnipeg Art Gallery last week.  I lived in Hong Kong for six years and so it was interesting to find out where people in the group came from and to compare notes about their home cities.  I had visited most of them. 

chinese tour group at wagIt was my first tour with a translator and so I had to give information in small bits and then wait while it was translated into Mandarin. Hearing Mandarin spoken again, and talking with the tour participants about places that I had come to know, made me nostalgic.  It was a nice feeling though. I’m not sorry I live in Canada now but chatting with my tour participants from China brought back fond memories of the time I spent in Asia. 

Other posts………

Dancing in Shangri-La

Ai Wei Wei

Stick Stick Men

Leave a comment

Filed under China, winnipeg art gallery

Picasso – Not Really a Family Man

seated woman 1926-1927

Seated Woman by Pablo Picasso 1927

It has been suggested that this work by Pablo Picasso currently on display at the Winnipeg Art Gallery is actually a portrait of the great artist’s family. Version 2If you look closely you can see the three intertwining heads of Picasso, his wife Olga and their son Paulo.


By Pablo Picasso – Agence Photographique de la Réunion des Musées Nationaux

Picasso also painted this portrait of his wife. She was Olga Khokhlova a ballet dancer from Russia. Picasso met her when he designed the costumes and sets for a ballet she was performing in Paris. 


Portrait of Paulo by Pablo Picasso -1923

Picasso and Olga’s son Paulo was born in 1921.

seated woman 1926-1927

Seated Woman by Pablo Picasso 1927

Interestingly the painting of his family currently at the Winnipeg Art Gallery was made the same year Picasso began having an affair with a seventeen year old girl, Marie-Thérèse Walter. As he was painting a portrait of the people in his family intertwined together…. he was in the process of breaking his family apart.  

Version 2

Lithograph of Marie Therese – 1928 Pablo Picasso – currently on display at the Winnipeg Art Gallery

Olga left him when she found out about Marie but stayed married to Picasso till her death in 1955, largely because it was the only way she could continue to force him to provide her with financial support.   Sadly Paulo, who was Olga and Picasso’s son, became an alcoholic and died in 1975.  Paulo’s children remember going begging at their grandfather’s door for food and money and being turned away. 

Seated Woman by Pablo Picasso 1927

Seated Woman may be a family portrait but it is not a happy one. Picasso wasn’t really a family man. 

Other posts……..

I’m Shattered

Who’s Twiggy

Picasso Acrostic 

Leave a comment

Filed under Art, winnipeg art gallery

I’m Shattered

“I’m shattered,” said a grade twelve art student when we were about half way through a tour of the Picasso exhibit at the Winnipeg Art Gallery.  “I knew Picasso was a great artist but now I’m finding out he wasn’t a very nice person and I’m not sure I can still like his art work.” 

It is nearly impossible to talk about Picasso’s art without examining his relationships because they greatly influenced his work. Picasso had what many would consider a highly dysfunctional personal life.  He was rarely faithful to one partner for more than a short period of time.  

Picasso’s portrait of 17 year old Marie Therese Walter

One of his long-term relationships was with Marie Therese Walter. She was only 17 when their relationship began. Picasso was still married to his wife Olga at the time.  Marie later committed suicide and Olga had a mental breakdown. Pablo and Olga’s son Paulo was a young child when his father’s affair began. As an adult Paulo became an alcoholic who went begging repeatedly with his children to his father’s door for money.  He was ignored.  One of his grandsons and Picasso’s second wife Jacqueline also committed suicide.  

Picasso’s portrait of his partner Dora Maar

His long time partner Dora ended up in a mental institution. He left no will when he died so there have been ongoing law suits amongst his heirs.  Numerous sources talk about how cruel and cold Picasso could be to his family.  

Would it be better to show Picasso’s art without talking about his troubled personal life?  Not with teenagers and adults.  High school students are old enough to do some serious thinking about whether we can separate a person’s private behavior from their public persona and achievements.  I think it is an important discussion to have.  In that way the current Picasso exhibit at the Winnipeg Art Gallery serves double duty, introducing visitors to a man who changed the world of art but also making them consider the price his family and those who loved him paid for his genius and whether it was worth it.  Can you wreak havoc in so many people’s lives and still be considered ‘great?’  Art should make us think deeply about things and the current Picasso exhibit at the Winnipeg Art Gallery certainly does that! 

Other posts………

Are All Artists Troubled?

Picasso Acrostic

Using the Other Side of my Brain

Leave a comment

Filed under Art, winnipeg art gallery

Who’s Twiggy?

“The women are all bigger and well rounded.”  

Three Women at the Fountain by Picasso from Creative Commons

I was showing a group of teens through the Picasso exhibit at the Winnipeg Art Gallery.  After the students had spent some time examining a group of  prints by Picasso I asked them what they had noticed.  One girl said, “The women in Picasso’s art works are often bigger and well rounded. Why?”

I asked if she knew who Twiggy was.  She didn’t. Neither did any of the other teens on the tour.  I told them the current notion that women must be thin to be beautiful hasn’t always been the norm.  Failuresque_Twiggy_drawingIn the 1960s a super skinny model named Twiggy popularized the idea that women should be thin.  Before that women with more rounded figures were considered attractive.  Picasso painted ‘well rounded’ women because in the early 1900s that was more the norm.

The teens on my tour were surprised.  Tbey weren’t aware that what is considered the ideal body shape for women has changed over time.  I’m glad they know that now.  Perhaps it will help them become more accepting of their own body shapes in all their variety and unique beauty. 

Other posts………

Skin Color

Pray Naked in Front of the Mirror

Modeling Career- Different Perceptions



Leave a comment

Filed under Art, History, winnipeg art gallery

Picasso Acrostic

We have a new Picasso exhibit opening tomorrow at the Winnipeg Art Gallery. Before I start to give tours of the exhibit I need to learn more about the famous Spanish artist.

high school students and teacher in spain

With my students in Spain

I have a little background knowledge about Picasso because I once chaperoned a high school art trip to Spain and saw Picasso’s famous work Guernica in the Renia Sofia in Madrid and visited the Picasso Museum in Barcelona.

guerinca fair use

Guernica was painted by Picasso in 1937 to show his anger about the bombing of the town of Guernica during the Spanish Civil War.

However my trip to Spain was ten years ago so I need a refresher. I’m using an acrostic poem to help me remember interesting things about Picasso. picasso book for kidsThe information for this comes from a great children’s book I found called  Pablo Picasso Breaking All the Rules. 

picasso with sister public domain

Picasso with his sister Lola

P is for pencil.  Pencil is the first word Picasso said.  He could draw before he could talk. Picasso was born in Spain in 1881.

picasso public domain

Picasso in 1908

I  is for in love.  Picasso fell in love repeatedly. He had long-term relationships with many women including- Fernande, Eva, Olga, Marie-Therese, Dora, Francoise and Jacqueline and fathered four children Paulo, Maya, Claude and Paloma. 

C is for Carles Casagemas.  He and Picasso were roommates in Paris. They were so poor Picasso painted furniture and bookcases on the walls to make their apartment look less bare.  Carles committed suicide in 1901. This made Picasso very depressed and is said to be the reason he went through a blue period when he painted sad and lonely people in blue colors. 

Gertrude Stein portrait wikipedia

Picasso’s portrait of Gertrude Stein in the Metropolitan Museum of Art New York City.

A is for American woman.  Gertrude Stein was an American poet living in Paris who became Picasso’s friend.  He liked to hang out at her house.  That is where he met another famous painter Henri Matisse.  He and Picasso became life long friends. 

j. Cocker photo of picasso sculpture in chicago

Sculpture by Picasso in Chicago. Photo was taken  by J. Cocker. 

S is for sculpture. Picasso was a painter and a potter but he was also a sculptor.  His sculptures were often made of junk he found like parts of a baby carriage or old cake pans or milk pitchers or baskets. 

picasso self portrait public domain

Picasso self-portrait done in 1907.

S is for self-portrait.  Picasso painted more than a dozen portraits of himself in his life time.  If you look at all of them you can see not only how Picasso’s physical appearance changed but also how his style of painting changed.  

Les_Demoiselles_d'Avignon public domain

Les Demoiselles d’Avignon by Pablo Picasso – Museum of Modern Art, New York. Can you see the African masks on the two women on the right? Picasso painted this in 1907. 

A is for African art.  Picasso was very interested in the African masks and sculptures he saw in museums in Paris.  You can see this influence in his work in particular from 1906-1909. 

Other posts…….

Spanish Inspiration

A Personal Dali

The Dakota Boat


Filed under Art, Spain, winnipeg art gallery