Filming my interview with Diana Widmaier Picasso at Sotheby's New York.


NEW YORK - I spent last Monday in New York filming a conversation with Diana Widmaier Picasso in front of the magnificent painting by her grandfather, which is the star lot of the sale in London on 5 February. It is a portrait of her grandmother Marie-Thérèse Walter, Picasso’s ‘Golden Muse,’ at the height of their affair in 1932. In fact this one’s actually dated ‘30 octobre’; the series he did of her through the year is an intimate journal of a physical obsession.

The history of art is full of master and muse relationships, but Marie-Thérèse is exceptional. I can’t think of any other muse whose sheer sensuality had such a direct and far-reaching effect on the painting of an artist. Femme Assise pres d’une Fenetre is an image of serene and monumental voluptuousness, expressed in planes of colour of a power previously unknown in Picasso’s oeuvre.
 
Diana, besides being an accomplished art historian and a considerable authority on her grandfather’s work, has an engaging sense of humour. We agree that it’s probably for the best that Picasso lived before internet dating. Otherwise there might have been even more Picasso ‘muses’ than there are already. But none of them inspired Picasso as spectacularly as Marie-Thérèse. The evidence is there in the painting, which is on view at Sotheby’s in London from 30 January to 4 February.

Watch the interview below.

Philip Hook is Senior Specialist in the Impressionist & Modern Art department.