Today was a lovely, sunny, coolish day in Paris – just cold enough for some to wear their full-length mink coats and for others to sit outside of a cafe with a bottle of wine on ice. Not me, I did not even stop for lunch, as I was on a mission: two museums in one day.
The Picasso Museum just opened an exhibition Of 240 sculptures and a few ceramics thrown in. The exhibition is housed in Hotel Sale (accent ague over the E), a work of art in itself which was probably never really a hotel. Picasso liked to meld the arts together – sculpture, painting, found materials like buttons and bicycle seats, and ceramics. He was a larger than life figure with serial mistresses like Rodin. He started out humbly, then became a political figure (communist), then he became a public figure. He and Francoise Gilot were often featured in Paris-Match – “La vie fabuleuse de Picasso.” He preferred the mouvement de la pensees (“movement of thought” ) to the pensee elle-meme, “thought itself.” The saddest room is a small one composed of a myriad of blank canvases each with a number on them which represent the 87 works of Picasso stolen by the Nazis and never recovered. They show the one that was recovered, Portrait de Madame Rosenberg et fille, an early work which demonstrated to me, at least, that he was a master of the traditional portrait. Among other amazing things, he illustrated a text on bullfighting called La Tauromaquia. What a pleasure to be among the works of this playful, whimsical, innovative artist. Wow.
I also made it to the Rodin Museum and gardens, and I ate dinner at Cafe Verlaine in theLatin Quarter with friends. More later.
PS The nude is by Delacroix.