Friday, June 4, 2010

WTF Pablo?!?

"Pablo Picasso was never called an a**hole" - Burning Sensations by way of The Modern Lovers

In 1907 Pablo Picasso and his girlfriend Fernande Olivier adopted a 13 year old orphan, Raymonde (one source has her being 10 years old). They adopted her after childless Fernande nagged Pablo to adopt an orphan. How hard could it be as Matisse had a 13 year old daughter? Again, with the rivalry with Matisse. It took only 4 months to figure out that this girl was just getting in the way. In Wayne Andersen's Picasso's brothel: les demoiselles d'Avignon cites that Pablo did some sketches of Raymonde that were disturbing in its sexual undertones (ew!). Biographers get the impression that Raymonde herself may have picked up on the creepy vibes from daddy Pablo. It has also been pointed out that Pablo dated younger and younger women. The sketch on the left here was a sketch of Raymonde on May 1907.

This couple didn't have the courage to send her back themselves. They got their friend Max Jacob to do the deed. He took her to the orphanage where the workers told him he was a bad father and that if he goes through this he cannot adopt again. Raymonde cries. Max cries. Max takes Raymonde for a meal, but ultimately he has to dump her at the orphange. Max covered for Pablo and Fernande while they never really treated him well. Pablo and Fernande end up breaking up anyway and later Pablo cites that they really broke up over Raymonde.

When the Nazis came to take Max away for being Jewish (even though he converted to Catholicism years prior) Pablo did nothing to help his friend. WTF, Pablo. Practice cowardice much?

I may very well end up reading several biographies to figure out what happened and WTF is wrong with you. I love your work. I was close to being 18 in 1984 when I took the AP European History exam where one of the essay questions asked me to analyze Guernica. My heart danced, my eyes brightened, and I said to myself, "Cake!" I rocked that essay and ever since loved that painting. That painting is timeless as it describes the horror of war and the innocence of the civilians who get caught in the crossfire. How can someone so brilliant can be such an (shall I say it) a**hole? I will probably end up reading about your biggest supporter, Gertrude Stein, too. She indulged you like so many others because of your brilliance.
My thoughts turn to Raymonde. What happened to Raymonde? Born in 1894, she is most likely dead. Did she survive the Flu epidemic? Did she survive WWII? That could be an interesting story.

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