Pablo Picasso, Buste de femme (Dora Maar), 1940, Oil on canvas, 29 1/8 x 23 5/8 in, 74 x 60 cm, © 2019 Estate of Pablo Picasso/Artist Rights Society (ARS), New York, Photo: Erich Koyama, Courtesy Gagosian
When I corresponded with Dora Maar to try to pin her down for an interview for our WNET Picasso documentary at the time of last major Picasso retrospective at MoMA, she was slippery but made sure to ask after John Richardson's whereabouts as she wanted to reconnect with him. She was a tough get, but he got her.
A newly opened homage to Richardson, Picasso's biographer, is also a testament to Gagosian's ability to pull together so many important images in record time. Some of the images of Marie Therese appeared in the Tate Modern retrospective last year. But others felt new to me. Perhaps it’s because I see these images in a slightly different way each time. Recently I too have been examining the role of the women in Picasso’s life and work.
To that end, I often revisit Richardson/Picasso and I'm always impressed by the wealth of personal detail and the profound sense of humor that he brought to this artist, the most chameleon-like of subjects. Richardson organized a number of electric Picasso shows at Gagosian and though this is a less ‘curated’ affair, it still invokes the complex relationships he had with so many of his lovers/muses/wife.
The last upcoming volume of his Picasso biography which will be published posthumously will surely add more delicious tidbits as well as enormous scholarship and I eagerly await it.