Back by Popular Demand: Picasso, you rascal, you!

Portrait de Dora Maar, 1936
Picasso's lover and muse

Portrait de Marie-Therese Walter, 1932
Mistress of Picasso


“I remember one day while I was painting Guernica in the big studio in the Rue des Grands-Augustins, Dora Maar was with me. Marie-Therese dropped in and when she found Dora there, she grew angry and said to her ‘I have a child by this man. It’s my place to be here with him. You can leave right now.’

Dora said, ‘I have as much reason as you have to be here. I haven’t borne him a child but I don’t see what difference that makes.’

I kept on painting and they kept on arguing.

Finally, Marie-Therese turned to me and said, ‘Make up your mind. Which one of us goes?’

It was a hard decision to make. I liked them both, for different reasons: Marie-Therese because she was sweet and gentle, and did whatever I wanted her to; Dora because she was intelligent. I decided I had no interest in making a decision. I was satisfied with things as they were. I told them they’d have to fight it out themselves. So they began to wrestle. It’s one of my choicest memories.”

Hall, D. & Wykes, P. (1990). Anecdotes of Modern Art. As Picasso told Francoise Gilot.

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  1. Vic DePratti August 8, 2013 at 11:04 am - Reply

    Kirby. Great blog. Two recollections: For the past few years, I have been fortunate to attend life drawing sessions with Jim Hubbell in Julian. We all look, the classes taught me to see. Also, when I drew a particularly distorted figure, I got a glimmer of where impressionistic art cam from. The bell rang! Ahaah. Second recollection. Francosie Gillot was the last of several of Picasso’s lovers. After his death, Francoise and Jonas Salks came together. Salk was the dedication speaker at the opening of the newly built San Diego Blood bank, circa 1973. I asked Salk if he would consider being the dedication speaker. His response, “first I need to meet you and know why you want me.” We met. He spoke. Wish I had met Francoise.

  2. Jordan Waldman August 8, 2013 at 11:49 am - Reply

    If I ever encounter that situation I know exactly how I would handle it.

    • kkeditor August 8, 2013 at 1:27 pm - Reply

      Would love to know what you would do, Jordy!

  3. dede schuhmacher August 8, 2013 at 11:50 am - Reply

    Who won the wrestling match?
    Isn’t it like a man to want his cake and eat it too?

    • kkeditor August 11, 2013 at 8:26 pm - Reply

      And Picasso had plenty of cake & ate it all!

  4. dede schuhmacher August 8, 2013 at 11:58 am - Reply

    I think Picasso did what he wanted and that was what made him such a great artist. He had his own opinions, uninfluenced by others. He had that kind of courage. Thus, Marie-Therese and Dora had to make up their own minds…….Picasso had made up his mind that he liked them both. He would do the same with his art……make up his own mind about what he liked, not what the dealers or public liked.

  5. David Kremenak August 8, 2013 at 6:26 pm - Reply

    It must be quite a thrill to have two grown women fighting over you, but I cannot applaud Pablo’s profligacy– or narcissism. Speaking of which, it would be interesting to examine Salvador Dali again. Thanks again. Tu amigo, d

  6. Bill August 9, 2013 at 6:10 am - Reply

    You and your blogs never fail to “make my day. . .” Miss you and Roberto. Hope to see you next week during a brief nine-day detour to America’s Finest City!
    From the Great Sacandaga, Much Love, Bill

  7. Sissy Alsabrook August 9, 2013 at 1:58 pm - Reply

    How wise he was not to become involved in a problem that was not his.

  8. Stuart Showalter August 11, 2013 at 3:39 pm - Reply

    Oh how I wish I could draw like Picasso or any cartoonist, for example. Not paint … I’d be satisfied just to be able to draw. But alas, no such talent. I’ll have to stick to writing and playing bridge.

  9. Ann Gary August 11, 2013 at 3:41 pm - Reply

    As always, your blog is fun and invokes memories and reflections. The first art I remember seeing in the U.S. (as you recall, I grew up in Mexico) was some Picasso ceramics at the Rockhill Nelson in Kansas City in 1956.

    Going through high school in Mexico City I was very aware of the very good Mexican artists of those days — Siqueiros, Kahlo, Rivera, et al. Even met Juan O’Gorman when he was working on his massive mosaic at the University of Mexico (below). (His wife, my close friend’s mother’s close friend, had a “nice little” Diego lily seller in her bedroom)

  10. Judith Gray August 12, 2013 at 5:51 pm - Reply

    I liked his appreciation of both women for different but wise reasons. However, he really had nothing to lose, no matter what he said. Right? Moreover, I was underwhelmed by his one-dimensional drawing demonstration. I have had the pleasure of watching you compose and paint – and you have so much more to offer the art-lover in terms of technique, serious attention to detail and retrospection. What did Picasso really care about, I wonder?

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