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Exhibition “Fernande Olivier and Pablo Picasso, in the intimacy of the Bateau-Lavoir

The exhibition "Fernande Olivier and Pablo Picasso" will be presented at the Musée de Montmartre from 14 October 2022 to 19 February 2023 as part of the Picasso Celebration (1973-2023).

Expo Fernande Olivier et Picasso Musée de Montmartre

A figure from Montmartre

A modern woman, Fernande Olivier (1881-1966) began her career as a professional model. She worked for many artists such as Cormon, Manolo, Canals, Sunyer... before becoming better known as the companion of the young Picasso. Fernande had much to say about herself through her writings: "Souvenirs intimes" and "Picasso et ses amis". This personality of the Bateau-Lavoir and of Montmartre life at the beginning of the 20th century is the subject of a first exhibition entirely devoted to her.

The exhibition will illustrate some of the key episodes of the avant-garde, recounted by Fernande through family archives and numerous public and private loans. The point of view adopted is that of Fernande through her writings, correspondence and even her works. She will analyse her writings, the support of Paul Léautaud and the reception of her works. As a modern woman, model, artist and writer, she is an inescapable witness of an era and an artistic milieu.

As a modern woman, model, artist and writer, she is an inescapable witness of an era and an artistic milieu.

expo picasso musée de montmartre

Her works and personal life

"Fernande Olivier & Pablo Picasso, in the intimacy of the Bateau-Lavoir" will be the first exhibition to focus on Fernande Olivier, a central figure of the Montmartre avant-garde. Her "Intimate Memories" evoke her condition as a woman and their difficult emancipation at the beginning of the century. The hard work of a model and the bohemian life in Montmartre before, during and after her encounter with Picasso and his gang will also be the focus of this exhibition. Amongst the colourful picture of Montmartre life, other artists chose Fernande as a model, such as Van Dongen, whose portraits will be presented. During his relationship with Picasso from 1905 until his break-up in 1911, at the heart of his daily life as an artist, Fernande was at the centre of his creation - from the blue period to the Cubist revolution - inspired by multiple alchemies around her face.

Fernande's precious testimonies describe the members of the Bateau-Lavoir artistic circle with intelligence and humor: Jacob, Apollinaire, Derain, Braque, Rousseau, Matisse... In addition, the exhibition sheds light on other figures of this circle: women artists, patrons and companions with multiple and major roles such as Gertrude Stein, Marie Laurencin, Guus van Dongen and Suzanne Valadon.

Picasso Celebration 1973-2023

2023 marks the 50th anniversary of the death of the Spanish painter Picasso. It will be a celebration of his work and artistic legacy in France, Spain and internationally. The Spanish and French governments are supporting this major transnational event through a bi-national commission, bringing together the diplomatic and cultural administrations of both countries. The Picasso Celebration 1973-2023 is structured around fifty or so exhibitions and events to be held in renowned cultural institutions in Europe and North America, which together provide a historiographical overview of approaches to the painter's work. The commemoration, punctuated by official celebrations in both countries, will allow for a review of research and understanding of Picasso's work, notably during a major international symposium in the autumn of 2023, at the time of the opening of the Centre d'Études Picasso in Paris. The Musée national Picasso-Paris and the Spanish National Commission for the commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the death of Pablo Picasso are pleased to support this exceptional programme.