Paris Post War: Art and Existentialism 1945-55

Click to follow
Indy Politics
When did Picasso acquire the habit of receiving guests in such rudimentary attire? A photograph taken in 1912 in his studio on the Rue Schoelcher, just opposite the Montparnasse cemetery, shows him wearing only a pair of shorts and an old cap, pushed back on his head. So it must be a habit of long standing. Fernande has said that sometimes, in the heat of summer at the Bateau- Lavoir, he greeted visitors in his shorts and some of the more prudish among them had requested him to put on a pair of trousers . . .

Gilberte is delighted. 'How simple he is. I hadn't pictured him like this.' We are along in the studio, and she is looking around her at the sculptures assembled here when her glance falls on the Femme a l'Orange. 'Look there,' she remarks to me, 'without that statue we might never have met, never have known each other.' 'You're forgetting the messenger's wife,' I answer, laughing. 'We have to be grateful to her too - and to her baby . . .'

Picasso reappears, as naked as he had been before. Instead of getting dressed, he has been looking for a box of chocolates for Gilberte.

From Picasso & Co, by Brassai, Thames & Hudson 1967.

Paris Post War: Art and Existentialism 1945-55 at the Tate Gallery until 5 September.