A new show in Paris focuses on one of Pablo Picasso’s earliest partners, fifty years after the controversial artist passed away and five years after the #MeToo movement began drawing attention to celebrities’ abuse of women.
Picasso’s treatment of Fernande Olivier, his first committed lover, may be partially to blame for his reputation suffering in the post-MeToo era.
Cecile Debray, the director of the Picasso Museum in Paris, believes that we cannot just see the artist through the lens of contemporary sensibilities.
Possessive and jealous, Picasso would lock Olivier in their ramshackle Paris apartment when he went out and made sure she doted on him while he worked long into the night.
However, according to the organizers of a new show at the Montmartre Museum in the north of Paris, this shouldn’t overwhelm the tale of their time spent together.
Pages from her memoirs are shown alongside numerous paintings and sculptures by Picasso and other members of that illustrious group of artists in the new exhibition.
“Picasso, due to a sort of morbid jealousy, kept me as a recluse,” Olivier wrote in her diary. “But with tea, books, a divan and little cleaning to do, I was happy, very happy.”
But her writings show she was more than a victim, said Debray.