Jackie O to Picasso

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The Independent Online
With barely a day to recover from the week-long yard sale of Jackie O's personal belongings, a new feast is set to begin today in New York - a blockbuster exhibition of Picasso's portraits, including those of his lovers, writes Edward Helmore.

Just as the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis auction gave New Yorkers an intimate insight into the First Lady's life, so "Picasso and Portraiture: Representation and Transformation" at the city's Museum of Modern Art will give them a flavour of Picasso's life and loves. More than 200 works will be on display in the first exhibition to study his career solely from the perspective of his portraits.

An evening preview last week attracted the museum's biggest attendance and over the next three months the show is expected to attract 750,000 visitors.

"If there is one artist of the 20th century who is a household name, it would be Picasso," said Alexandra Pastow, a spokeswoman at the museum.

Though the show includes pictures which have rarely been seen before - his early self-portraits and those of his family and friends - it has gained the most attention for the pictures of his lovers, each of whom has her own room. From Fernande Olivier through Olga Khoklova and Marie- Therese Walter to Jacqueline Roque, his last wife, the portraits show that Picasso did not shift his style in a linear progression of periods in sympathy with his current flame.