This is a work that vindicates the women who helped Pablo turning into Picasso.
The Women Behind Picasso focuses on the leading women featuring both the life and work of the famous painter. Olga Khokhlova, Dora Maar, Françoise Gilot or Jacqueline Roque are just some of the protagonists that inspired the life and art of the Malaga born painter, helped him promote his work and looked after throughout all stages of his life. How much do we know about him and how much about them? They were all women of outrageous talent who had to overcome countless obstacles and defend themselves from the abuse they got from both the artist and the environment in which they lived, and who, years later, would be subjected to the nuances of a historiography that would deal with their figures in a gender biassed way. This book is an effort to unveil the biographies of those women who would become critical to turn Pablo into Picasso, women whose existence bloomed despite the painter rather than thanks to him.
Eugenia Tenenbaum, an Art Historian and expert in Gender Studies, reveals the profiles of each of the unique protagonists. Using different genres and literary devices, Tenenbaum re-enacts different stages of the lives of this bunch of breath-taking women to bring them back to the pinnacle in art history —a place where they belong and where they should have always been.
The Women Behind Picasso is a work that aims to question the biassed narrative of history, to reveal and understand some of the critical episodes of our most recent past, and to tackle art in an inclusive and fair way. Ultimately the essay argues that art is a collective effort rather than an individual work.
To reduce the role and relevance of the eight female protagonists of this book to that of mere muses is not only an affront to the truth but to their importance in the history of the art of the twentieth century. Four of them were artists in their own right: painters, photographers, dancers and also writers. And they were artists not because of him but despite him. This argument might as well serve to talk about the blatant and constant lack of visibility of women’s artistic work, and about the persistent downgrading of them all to secondary roles. Why were they left apart from the history of a world they also built? It is still shocking to have to defend these issues, as much as it is shocking to keep stretching the fact that artistic creation is, in most cases, the result of a collective effort rather than the result of an individual achievement.
The graphic work brings together the talent of nine of today’s greatest female illustrators.
The Women Behind Picasso chronicles the lives and personalities of several mesmerising women from a modern standpoint, underscoring its gender approach.