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article imagePablo Picasso's granddaughter Marina speaks about artist and life

By Anne Sewell     Jun 26, 2013 in Entertainment
Cannes - In the words of Pablo Picasso's granddaughter, "Picasso was never like a real grandfather to us." She went on to speak about life with the artist and the lack of family love, while staging an exhibition to mark the anniversary of his death.
In order to mark the 40th anniversary of the death of the renowned artist, Pablo Picasso, his granddaughter, Marina Picasso has opened up her private collection. The exhibition will stage an exploration of the recurrence of nudes in the Spanish artist's work.
"Picasso, Nudity Set Free" features 120 works, of which around 90 come from Marina's private collection. Some of these works have never before been on public display.
In speaking to the media about the anniversary exhibition, Marina, a mother of five children herself, opened up about family life with the artist.
She says that as a child, she often found herself shut out of his sumptuous Cannes villa "La Californie," which she eventually inherited. She now says, four decades after his death, that the gates of her house, along with thousands of his artworks, are always available to visitors.
Speaking of the house, Marina said that for many years she struggled to accept "an inheritance given without love."
"Living in this house, unconsciously perhaps it's a way of recapturing lost time in a place where we were once excluded," said Marina.
Marina was in her early twenties when her grandfather died and she inherited the mansion. With a shrug, she told AFP, "This comes from my inheritance, I don't make anything special of it."
Marina spoke of the childhood of herself and her elder brother, Pablito, which was punctuated by rare and unhappy visits to their famous grandfather, who spent most of his time in France.
She recalls "long waits behind the gate" while "the master" woke up. She said that Picasso's second wife "Jacqueline used to order that we wait; she rejected anything that disturbed him."
Marina is the daughter of Paulo Picasso, son of the artist and his first wife, Russian ballerina Olga Khokhlova.
She was born in 1950 and grew up amidst poverty despite her "illustrious lineage." Her father was an alcoholic who died in his fifties, just two years after the death of the artist.
"He was always a bit the toy of his father. He was never able to grow up," Marina explained.
Due to her unhappy childhood, Marina went through years of therapy during her adulthood. She also poured her painful childhood memories into her 2001 memoir "Picasso: My Grandfather".
She said that, "At the beginning, I couldn't bear to see his paintings. It took me a lot of time to make the distinction between the artist and the grandfather."
Her brother, Pablito, had a worse experience of the childhood rejection by Picasso. After Picasso's death at the age of 91 in April 1973, Picasso's wife Jacqueline refused him permission to see his grandfather and he swallowed bleach, dying three months later.
Marina explained that, "my brother wanted to embrace him for one last time and Jacqueline threw him out."
"He went home and killed himself by drinking bleach."
It turns out that the tragic family life of Picasso's grandchildren is not the only thing. Reportedly the fate of his muses (including his wife), now portrayed as bronze busts dotting the villa, was equally tragic.
Of these ladies, Marie-Therese Walter hanged herself, Dora Maar suffered depression and became something of a recluse.
On the family side, Marina's grandmother Olga died in Cannes in 1955, unvisited by her estranged husband, and Jacqueline Picasso shot herself.
Four decades later, Marina tries to overcome this bitter legacy of the past, and explains: "He loved women and used them in order to be creative."
In the restored house in Cannes, which was renamed "Pavillon de Flore," many paintings, ceramics and sculptures of Picasso and other artists can be seen.
Marina says that funding projects, including an orphanage in Vietnam, makes her feel that her inheritance has been put to good use. She now plans to turn her attention to more philanthropic work in France.
She says that with children, what happens at the beginning of their lives has the most impact of them.
"The more that one can help (when they are) young, the better they will live later," she adds.
Pablo Ruiz y Picasso was born in Málaga, southern Spain on October 25, 1881, and passed away on 8 April 1973.
Picasso was a Spanish painter, sculptor, print maker, ceramicist, and stage designer who spent most of his adult life in France.
He is known as one of the greatest and most influential artists of the 20th century, and widely acknowledged for "co-founding the Cubist movement, the invention of constructed sculpture, the co-invention of collage, and for the wide variety of styles that he helped develop and explore," according to Wikipedia.
A documentary about Picasso's life is included at the top of this article.
The exhibition, "Picasso, Nudity Set Free" runs until October 27 at the Centre d'art La Malmaison in Cannes, France.
Les Demoiselles d Avignon. Oil on Canvas  by Pablo Picasso
Les Demoiselles d'Avignon. Oil on Canvas by Pablo Picasso
Pablo Picasso
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