New exhibition to show Picasso's feminist side

Posted By: Staff
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London, March 28 (ANI): Legendary Spanish artist Pablo Picasso, whose womanizing habits were almost as popular as his works, will be presented as a women's movement supporter in a new exhibition.

The display titled 'Picasso: Peace and Freedom' will highlight previously unseen correspondence between Picasso and feminist organizations.

During his life, the painter had donated works and money to a host of women's campaign groups.

The archives found at Musie National Picasso in Paris, includes a letter Picasso received from the Conseil National de femmes Hongroises, a Hungarian women's liberation group.

In the letter Edith Erdei, the group's president, wrote in 1961: In the name of Hungarian women who admire your works representing the women and the child...permit us to wonder if you would give your assent to the reproduction on a postcard of the drawing enclosed.

"These cards, to be produced at the time of International Women's Day 1961, are intended to send a message of friendship to women in other countries...".

Picasso had underlined the request in red and blue pencil and wrote "oui".

The exhibition will feature another letter dated 1949, in which Picasso grants permission to the Comiti d'Organisation de la Journie International des femmes pour la Paix, of which feminist writer Simone de Beauvoir was a member, to use his painting, L'enfant au pigeon, on their Christmas cards.

The organisation had sold the cards to raise funds.

Also, Picasso's support for the Union des Femmes Francaises, a French organisation focusing on women's participation in government, is proved thanks to a letter from the Union dated November 1944 asking for a watercolour or drawing from the artist to be auctioned to raise funds at their fete in December that year.

He had obliged to the union's request.

Other letters from the Union to Picasso in 1946 suggest that he had even donated money towards the building of a foyer at the Salle Pleyel concert hall in Paris.

Some more letters show Picasso's support for the Women's International Zionist Organization (WIZO), a group committed to advancing the status of women.

In 1961, WIZO wrote to Picasso: "A feeling of profound gratitude we want to express to you. Our cordial thanks for the friendship which you do not cease testifying, year after year, to our Organization."

Picasso donated a picture to WIZO in 1964 to be sold at their annual conference in Cannes.

Lynda Morris, a Research Fellow and Curator at the Norwich University College of the Arts, and co-curator of the exhibition, insists that the letter will challenge Picasso's image as womaniser.

"There is a common perception of Picasso as a playboy who had little sympathy for women, but I hope this material suggests people look at him differently," the Telegraph quoted her as saying.

Also, Dr Christoph Grunenberg, the director of Tate Liverpool, said: "Picasso was an artistic giant of the 20th century, so there is a lot of mythology surrounding him.

"Discovering that he actually committed large amounts of time and money to women's organisations who were fighting for equality, allows us to look quite differently at his work.

"Much of his work featuring women is so often interpreted as the aggressive, predatory male ravaging and possessing women.

"But this almost unknown side to him perhaps show these works as expressions more of love and desire for women and reveal him as an artist with a far greater respect for women than we previously thought."

The show, featuring more than 150 of Picasso's works, opens on May 21. (ANI)

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