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. If you look closely you can see the three intertwining heads of Picasso, his wife Olga and their son Paulo.
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.
Picasso and Olga’s son Paulo was born in 1921.
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.
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 may be a family portrait but it is not a happy one. Picasso wasn’t really a family man.