Painting the Truth

“Are we to paint what’s on the face, what’s inside the face, or what’s behind it?” said Pablo Picasso. I am of the opinion that, over the course of his legendary career, Picasso painted all three. Those of you with a penchant for Picasso’s creative genius may have an interest in the Bendheim Gallery exhibit this March. Entitled “The Language of Lines” this exhibit hosted by the Greenwich Arts Council.

It will run from March 3rd – April, with an opening reception on March 3rd at 6 p.m. and will feature the works of Iranian born artist Fereshteh Priou. The sixty works of ink on paper on display will attempt to express the simplicity that lies at the heart of beauty. Born in Iran, Priou’s creativity seeks to evoke form through the pure force of subtle, yet bold and simple lines. For more information log onto greenwicharts.org. Like Picasso, Priou expresses faces and bodies using as few strokes as possible. Picasso is a momentous role model, not only for his workmanship but for his personal life which at times was even more legendary than his art.

Artist model Fernande Olivier was Picasso’s first long term relationship and subject of many paintings. In early 2004 the National Gallery in Washington, D.C. had an exhibition of 60 portraits of Fernande that Picasso painted in 1909.

Fernande left Picasso in 1912, months after Picasso took an interest in Eva Gouel. Picasso was devastated by her early death in 1915. He professed his love to her by painting “I Love Eva” on his canvases.

In 1917 ballerina Olga Khokhlova met Picasso. They married in the Russian Orthodox Church in Paris in 1918 and lived a life of conflict. She was a high society girl who enjoyed formal events while Picasso was more bohemian in his interests and pursuits. In 1927 Picasso met 17 year old Marie-Thérèse Walter who Picasso then lived with in a flat across the street from his marital home while still married to his wife Olga. Picasso and Olga later separated although they remained married for financial reasons.

In 1943 Picasso, now 62, kept company with young art student Françoise Gilot. Their two children Claude and Paloma were named for the dove of peace that Picasso painted in support of the post-World War II peace movement. Gilot, frustrated with Picasso’s infidelities left him in 1953. If you have a chance to visit the upcoming Bendheim exhibit I invite you to draw your own conclusions vis-à-vis Picasso and Priou and explore the evolution of their artistic modes of expression. And remember these wise words spoken by Picasso himself “Art is a lie that makes us realize truth.”

Victoria Baker of Greenwich is an opera singer. A winner of many prestigious competitions, she has performed and worked with distinguished artists across the world notably at Lincoln Center. She teaches piano & voice privately in Greenwich. For questions that deserve answers, and may be in print, please call (203) 531-7499 or send e-mail to [email protected]

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