Ex-muse puts up 20 Picasso drawings for auction

24th June 2005, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, June 24 (AFP) - Twenty drawings given by Pablo Picasso in the 1950s to his young lover and muse, poetess Genevieve LaPorte, will go on auction in Paris on Monday, and are expected to fetch up to EUR 2 million.

PARIS, June 24 (AFP) - Twenty drawings given by Pablo Picasso in the 1950s to his young lover and muse, poetess Genevieve LaPorte, will go on auction in Paris on Monday, and are expected to fetch up to EUR 2 million.

LaPorte described the drawings, to be sold by Artcurial, as "love letters" and expressed mixed feeling about selling them, in an interview with AFP.

"As you can imagine, I am not jumping with joy," said the author, still flashing the radiant smile so often captured by Picasso during their brief relationship as lovers in the early 1950s.

"But it is such a shame to keep them in a safe," she said, explaining that her insurance company had insisted on thus protecting them because she lived alone in an isolated woods.

"I just hope that the drawings are purchased by someone who loves them as much as I do," she said.

LaPorte first met Picasso in 1944 when she was 17 after classmates tricked her into going to interview the already world famous painter, then 63-years-old.

Something clicked, and Picasso maintained a chaste relationship with the young woman who was to become his lover only years later, when she would also emerge as a renowned writer in her own right.

After a whirlwind tour through most of the United States in 1945 -- where she said she discovered peanut butter, Coca Cola and rodeo riding -- she met Picasso again in 1951, the year the artist portrayed LaPorte in the drawings up for auction on Monday.

"I was no longer a silly little girl," LaPorte recalled.

She remembers vividly the late afternoon in May 1951 when their relationship suddenly became more intimate.

She was about to leave Picasso's atelier when the artist told her to stay because a storm was brewing. Thunder and lightening followed his words.

"It was such a shock, that I don't remember anything after that -- a big black hole and a moment of illumination at the same time," she said demurely.

What followed, she said, was an intense, tender relationship over two years, including an extended sojourn in Saint Tropez on the French Riviera, where Picasso penned the drawings in pen, pencil and charcoal.

LaPorte turned down the notoriously volatile artist's invitation some years later to move in with him, and may have thus escaped the tragic ending that befell most of Picasso's other love interests.

Indeed, LaPorte has nothing but fond memories. "He has been cast as a macho, a monster, a cad who extinguished cigarettes on the cheek of his wife. But look at these drawings -- there is nothing but tenderness, no?" she said.

In his art, Picasso captured LaPorte in many guises: as a harem concubine, a bride, a sphinx and most famously, perhaps, as 'Genevieve in a sailor's top' ('Genevieve au tricot marin').

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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