Category Archives: Picasso

El Toreador

Posted on

Bullfighting, also known as tauromachia  is a traditional spectacle of Spain, Portugal, southern France, India, and some Latin American countries (Mexico, Colombia, Venezuela and Peru) in which one or more bulls are baited, and then slaughtered in a bullring for sport and entertainment. Whereas the popularity of this sport has fallen in the past few hundred years, it is still regarded as a “fine art” by some (and a bloodsport by others). Per usual, traditional, culture, and sport are mired in controversy.

(Images: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 )

Whatever one’s stance on the activity may be, it still cannot be argued that the professional toreros (also called “matadors”) and the bullring has captured the imagination of many artists throughout the years. The colors, the speed, and the marvel of a show create a vignette in which humanity and mortality are often on display.  I have never been to a bullfight, nor do I really condone the practice – but in the end it is not my religions, culture, or history. So much of this world is based on attempting to understand the importance  and significance of another people’s past. Rather than a competitive sport, the bullfight is more of a ritual which is judged by aficionados (bullfighting fans) based on artistic flourishes and a man’s command of animal. Ernest Hemingway said of it in his 1932 non-fiction book Death in the Afternoon: “Bullfighting is the only art in which the artist is in danger of death and in which the degree of brilliance in the performance is left to the fighter’s honour.”

Edouard Manet , Mlle. Victorine in the Costume of a Matador, Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1862 – (An early instance of cross dressing and “passing” in art, Manet purposely includes a pink sash and a reprint of Goya’s bull’s behind Victorine.)

SOTHEBY’S NEW YORK – NOVEMBER 14, 2007, CONTEMPORARY ART, FRANCIS BACON, 1909-1992, STUDY FOR BULLFIGHT NO. 1, 2ND VERSION , signed, titled, and dated 1969 on the reverse , oil on canvas , 78¾ x 58? in. 200 x 147.7 cm.

VILLEGAS CORDERO, José (Sevilla, 1844 – Madrid, 1921), La muerte del maestro, Óleo sobre Lienzo, 330 x 505 cm., h. 1884, Image via Museo Bellas Artes de Sevilla

“Bullfight #5” by Salvador Dali
P.P. Konchalovsky, Bullfight. 1910

 Pablo Picasso, Bullfight, the death of the torero (Course de taureaux – la mort du torero)

Rene Daniels, Painting on the Bullfight, 1985, Photo by Peter Cox, Image found HERE (The colors and quickness of the bullfight reduced to abstraction!)

Jacqueline Kennedy, her hostess the Duchess of Alba, and the Countess of Romanones attend a bullfight in Seville, 1966, Image found HERE.

Magazine: Harper’s Bazaar Singapore, Issue: March 2012, Editorial: Before Night Falls, Model: Wang Xiao |Wilhelmina|, Stylist: Kenneth Goh |United Management|, Photographer: Simon Upton, Image found HERE.

Kiss of the Matador, Vogue Japan, Image found HERE.

Oscar de la Renta is inspired by Cubism and Matadors in this collection, found HERE. 

Emilio Pucci 2012 matador skirt, HERE.

Read the rest of this entry

An Artist’s Dwelling (3)

Posted on

“Mystery”, “Confusion”, “Madness”: These are the first words that come to mind when patrons were asked to describe Pablo Picasso’s Studio with Plaster Head, while viewing it at The Museum of Modern Art in New York City. Indeed, the image is confusing and multi-layered. Are we in the room? Are we peering it through a window? Are we outside in the clouds? Is this all happening within a frame? The questions are boundless and the levels of the painting trick the eye. As a still life, there are some definite objects that are easy to identify: an open book, a bust of Zeus, a plaid cloth, a twig in leaf, a peach, a red tablecloth, Fleur de Lis wallpaper, a square ruler, and two plaster-cast arms and hands, one gripping a rod.

Studio with Plaster Head, Pablo Picasso (Spanish, 1881-1973), Juan-les-Pins, summer 1925. Oil on canvas, 38 5/8 x 51 5/8″ (97.9 x 131.1 cm). © 2012 Estate of Pablo Picasso / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

During the time of this painting, Picasso’s first marriage to a ballet dancer Olga Khokhlova was failing. In the summer of 1918, Picasso first married the ballerina from Sergei Diaghilev’s troupe. Picasso met the woman during his work designing the ballet, Parade, in Rome. They were married that summer, but by the time their son Paolo was born, Picasso started to fall out of love. Khokhlova introduced Picasso to an aristocratic world of fetes,  formal dinner parties, and galas. In this world the shrimp fork was kept separate from the oyster fork, the salad fork, and the carving fork. It was said that Picasso did not enjoy adhering to the  social niceties required by the life of the rich in 1920s Paris. The painting above also happened to be created during a summer month, but one filled with drastically different emotions.  It is noted by art historians and zealous Picasso fans that during this period several severed limbs are found in many of his still lifes. It might also be hard to spot, but Picasso also includes a shadow of himself.  The year 1925 marks the beginning of a new period for Picasso (considered a crucial moment in his development ) wherein emotional violence and Expressionist distortion permeate his canvas.

The woman behind the emotions, and who is conspicuously missing from the painting.

Read the rest of this entry

%d bloggers like this: