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“Picasso & Khokhlova” in the Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts

In 1917, Sergei Dyagilev’s Russian Seasons experienced difficult times: disappearing sponsors, lack of money, the collapse of touring plans … In Rome, Russian Ballet was preparing the premiere of Parade by Eric Sati staged by Leonid Myasin. Artist librettist Jean Cocteau offered his idol – not very popular among the masses, but well-known to professionals Pablo Picasso.
The choice was successful. In addition to the scandal at the Paris premiere and textbook status in the history of the theater “Parade” remembered secular gossip. During the rehearsals, Picasso inflamed passion for the corps de ballet dancer Olga Khokhlova, so much so that he soon took her to her native Malaga to introduce her to her mother. Apparently, she liked the bride, since she tried to dissuade her from marrying, they say, you and Pablo will not be happy – as if looking into the water. But Olga wanted to get married. In the Russian Ballet, the suitors excited many. Some were intuitive and forgot about conventions – in 1917, the great Tamara Karsavina gave birth to a son to a British diplomat, and only a year later married him, as it turned out, successfully. And Lydia Lopukhova caught in the network of a famous fan, economist John Keynes.
Picasso’s love stories would be enough for the whole Montparnasse. He was looking for powerful women, his refusals were started. He wrote to Gertrude Stein about the “truly aristocratic” inaccessibility of 25-year-old Olga, which implied not only aristocratic roots (Olga claimed that she was the daughter of a colonel of the tsarist army), but also moral severity. In fact, she was born in the family of a lieutenant in Nizhyn; The head of the infirmary is an important position, but it did not smell like aristocracy here. Nevertheless, when Picasso knocked on Olgin’s door at night, Dyagilev frightened him that it was impossible to “just like that” Russian girls, they had to marry. Olga did not open.
In the novel Woman in the Chair, Guillaume Apollinaire (like Cocteau, Max Jacob and the famous ballet critic Valeryan Svetlov, he was a witness at the wedding of Picasso) described the scene where the artist and his previous passion Irene Laguil: the hero Pablo unsuccessfully rushes at night to Elvira begging to let in. They say that Dyagilev persuaded Olga to the last to remain faithful to moral principles, and he was the first to win from the cell of society that had emerged: he acquired the author who entered the zenith. But Picasso’s marriage was profitable. The artist has grown familiarity, changed the style, housing and wardrobe. He went to the premiere of “Parade” in a red sweater with a high neck; now the days of dark blue suits, gold watches and reeds with a silver knob began.
Olga demanded to leave the workshop in Montrouz and move to the center, on the rue La Boesi. At the same time, she forgot that her husband needed to work somewhere, at first he put an easel in the living room (because there are so many graphics with home species in the Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts). For the workshop they rented an apartment upstairs, Picasso liked to go down in working clothes to the social guests of his wife.
On the threshold she let not everyone, perhaps her grumbling gradually upset the friendship of Picasso with Max Jacob. At first, the appeal to the bourgeoisie artist pleased, as any game, but Olga did not know the sense of proportion. After the birth of Paulo, a housemaid, a cook, a nanny and a chauffeur appeared in the house – aristocracy turned into philistinism. In the first sections of the exhibition there are many portraits of the son and mother, from amateur filming to the famous “Portrait of Olga in the chair”, he was shown last year at the exhibition “Olga Picasso” in Paris (for details, see Kommersant on March 30, 2017). The evolution of the image is frightening – from the romantic beauty in the spirit of Engra to the shrew who destroyed the heart of the artist. Attitude to a woman on the canvases of the 1930s angered modern feminists, but Picasso liked to portray himself as a tyrant and a victim at the same time (hence so many corridors, crucifixes, Minotaurs at an exhibition in the Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts).
Olga and Paulo left ryu la boesy in 1935, when a new passion, Maria Theresa Walter, gave birth to a daughter of Picasso. Spouses could not divorce, the property was not divided. Meanwhile, Spain was captured by the Franks, and the situation became even more difficult. They painted in the Paris City Hall, but the divorce was in Spanish jurisdiction – Picasso did not receive French citizenship. Until her last days, Olga, a cancer patient, had spattered her New Year’s cards from her old family photos — they are shown in Volkhonka — and she was sure that they were together. A road chest was brought from France, where its archive was kept, evidence of non-expiring time.
As a result of the gap, Dyagilev suffered as well. Having met Maria-Therese, Picasso stopped working for the “Russian Seasons”, having abandoned the theater for almost 20 years. Late experiments for the stage can not be compared with the masterpieces of the era of Olga Khokhlova; a personalized chronology pays homage to the unfortunate woman, who did not see the Minotaur in the maze of a family apartment.

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