Picasso at Gagosian Gallery

Pablo Picasso, Marie-Thérèse Walter (1937), oil on canvas; courtesy Gagosian Gallery

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Goddamn Pablo Picasso. Goddamn Larry Gagosian. I’m sick to death of both of them. Picasso for his overweening ubiquity, Gagosian for his crass ubiquity. Just when you don’t want to think about either ever again, here comes Picasso and Marie-Thérèse;  L’Amour Fou, an enlivening exhibition at Gagosian’s 21st Street branch.

Organized by John Richardson, author of the definitive Picasso biography, and art historian Diana Widmaier Picasso, the exhibition centers on “one of [the artist’s] most ideal models and enduring passions”–that is to say, Ms. Widmaier Picasso’s grandmother, Marie-Thérèse Walter.

A sprawling tour-de-force of masterworks, little seen curiosities and the kind of embarrassments only a genius could claim, the Gagosian show includes the above pictured portrait of the artist’s mistress. With its arresting array of hot and icy tones, it’s enough to make you think that Picasso, never a deft hand with color, could do more with his palette than he usually let on.

Or maybe he just got lucky.

© 2011 Mario Naves

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