The village of La Californie, in Cannes, represented one of the happiest times of his life.
"All the things I do in relation to art gives me great joy." Picasso was not a lover of writing. As he himself affirmed, "les autres parlent, Moi, je travaille". However, the phrase that heads this article sums up very well what was his attitude towards life, something that is intended to be reflected in a Picasso exhibition and the joy of living.
Picasso's famous phrases have reached us in several ways. First, by his letters, not very numerous and with some spelling mistakes, but above all by his interviews or by the testimonies of the people who knew him well, as his colleague Françoise Gilot, who wrote in 1964 in collaboration with Carlton Lake Life with Picasso, a publication that Picasso tried to prohibit but that has finally become one of the great sources of famous quotes of the painter from Malaga.
Gilot narrates in this memoir the ten years in which he lived with Picasso and in which he makes a description of the artist with his lights and shadows. This publication includes a quote in which the artist explains that "I paint exactly the same as other people write their autobiography, the pictures, finished or not, are the pages of my diary". In many of these works, we can find what the French call the joie de vivre, an attitude that goes beyond a simple expression to become a philosophy of life.
In another passage from Gilot's book, Picasso compares himself to Braque, with whom he created Cubism, and affirms that Cubism is a fortunate being because he can isolate himself from everything to devote himself exclusively to creation, in the face of which he recognises: "I need others , not only because they bring me something but because I am a victim of that tireless curiosity that has to be satisfied with their visits ".
This sociability of Picasso is manifested in many different areas that are embodied in his art works, such as the world of the circus, which frequented in Paris with Max Jacob and Guillaume Apollinaire and which shaped melancholy in its first acrobats and harlequins of the pink period and that later would give way to more festive and erotic works in very diverse prints of the suites Vollard, 347 and 156. And is that Picasso himself came to recognise that "he was really bewitched by the circus.”
The bulls were another constant in his life. "Paul's definition of a perfect Sunday was - according to Spanish norms - morning mass, bullfight in the afternoon and house of prostitution at night. He could pass perfectly without the first and last of these three things, but one of the greatest joys of his life were the bullfights. " Despite the exaggeration and simplification of the alleged Spanish customs, the quote by Françoise Gilot is a good proof of the importance of bullfighting in the life and work of the artist. Picasso was initiated into the world of bullfighting from his earliest childhood by the hand of his father. In fact, Picasso's first surviving painting is entitled Picador (1880-90) and was made when he was nine years old. The strength and virility of the bull would later be transferred to the minotaur, who, instead of the bullfighter, rams the woman in a series of works with a great sexual charge.
Music, and especially dance, was another area in which we can find that joy of living in the work of Picasso. The young Picasso already showed interest in portraying the world of cafes singers and cabarets and portrayed several bailaoras in 1899. But it would be his meeting with Serge Diaghilev that would get him fully into the world of dance where he made sets and costumes in works as well known as Parade (1917) by Jean Cocteau and Léonide Massine with music by Erik Satie; Le Tricorne (1919) by Léonide Massine with music by Manuel de Falla; and Pulcinella (1920) by Léonide Massine with music by Igor Stravinsky. Also, in Diaghilev's Russian ballets he also met his first wife, the Russian dancer Olga Khokhlova.
The relationship with Olga Khokhlova ended badly. In the decline of his marriage, the dancer sent him postcards with images of Rembrandt in which he wrote. "If you were like him, you would be a great artist." And is that the Dutch painter was one of the great references of Picasso but was not the only one. As the curator of contemporary art at the Louvre Museum, Marie-Laure Bernadac, points out, "Picasso's entire work, from the blue period to the last canvas of Avignon, is affirmed as a reinterpretation of the history of art, a constructive dialogue with some favorite painters that make up his artistic pantheon, a true painting of painting ". A rereading that, in many occasions, jocularly. Proof of this are the 50 engravings in which Degas is portrayed as a voyeur who frequents brothels, the 25 engravings in which he portrays the loves of Rafael and La Fornarina (narrated by Giorgio Vasari in his book on the lives of artists of the Renaissance) or his version of the Burial of the Count of Orgaz, by El Greco, in which he draws the naked Virgin Mary and replaces the recumbent body of the count with a roast chicken.
Picasso's workshops are another proof of his taste for the good life. The village of La Californie, in Cannes, represented for Picasso one of the happiest times of his life. The artist bought this villa in an art deco style together with Jacqueline Roque and there he created, among many other works, the 44 versions he made of Las Meninas de Velázquez. The siege of journalists and onlookers caused them to move to Notre-Dame-da-Vie where he spent the last stage of his life in which he created some of his best known series such as the painter and the model, of a great sensuality, or his famous musketeers, inspired by the paintings of Rembrandt, Velázquez, Spanish knights or those of the musketeer films he saw on television, because, yes, Picasso, like most mortals, watched television . And among his preferences were the Roman films, the circus and wrestling.
In short, as Picasso himself said, "I put everything I love in a painting" and in the more of 90 years that he lived, he gave a lot of love.