Today’s New York Times has an article on one of Picassos muses. Not one of the many women in his life, but a little daschund called Lump.
Lumps owner, the photographer David Douglas Duncan is not only considered one of the last century’s most outstanding photojournalists (he is renowned for his war photographs, especially those taken during the Korean war) but also probably the only photographer to have had free access to Picassos home and studio and to have had the chance to photograph the artist at work.
The article reminded me of my visit to Luzern earlier this year. In addition to Picasso’s sketches and paintings from the private collection of the Rosengarts, The Picasso Museum houses some 200 pictures, by Duncan, of the artist at work, relaxing, with his family, with his pets. And well, I remembered Lump as well! The photo on the left was one of my favourites on display at the museum.
The Times writes:
That very day, he did his first portrait of Lump, a signed and dated portrait of the dog that he painted on a plate while having lunch with Jacqueline Roque, his new partner, whom he would marry four years later.
In so many ways it shows the human face of the artist. One who was entranced by the little daschund, one who happily painted him his very own plate. It also hints at why Picasso is considered one of the most prolific artists of all time, what with some quarter of a million pieces of artwork to his credit. Almost everything Picasso touched has some artistic value, I’d be curious as to how much Lumps plate would cost at an auction.
I also think I wouldn’t mind trading places with Lump. Can you imagine being immortalized in Picasso’s paintings? Being called one of his muses? Having him paint you your very own plate? (The closest I come is having M.F. Hussain gift me a sketch of his signature horses).
All of this also brings to mind the fact that this year we celebrate Picasso’s 125th birth anniversary. It’s also been 25 year since the "Guernica" arrived in Spain. The Prado and the Reina Sofia in Madrid and the Museu Picasso in Barcelona are celebrating.
Another reason to visit Spain this year, isn’t it?