With “Maya Ruiz-Picasso, Daughter of Pablo,” Diana Widmaier-Picasso Mines Her Mother’s Memories of a Genius


Though you have curated several Picasso exhibitions, the dation must make this occasion particularly meaningful.

[The shows] are an homage to [Maya]. She didn’t sell that much, and I think it shows that she’s always been close to her father, and she wanted, for that reason, to preserve the works of art. She had an intuition that there might be a need one day to organize certain things, and she made the right selection to please the eyes of the public. I think it’s all about her being very generous.

Is there any reason why this is happening now?

That’s a good question. I think she just realized it was a good time.

To ensure, perhaps, that she was alive to see these works transfer to the state.

Yes. It’s about transmission.

How was the selection made of these nine works?

I think my mother had a very clear vision of what should be part of a national museum, which I find interesting. We wanted a dialogue with the museum to understand their needs. This was what took place when the first dation was done; all the children decided jointly that they should leave the state to choose in order to have a comprehensive museum.

Paint us a picture, so to speak, of where these pieces were in your home?

My mother is very fond of her grandfather, Don José. She keeps saying we forget about him because Picasso is so overwhelming. [The portrait, Don José Ruiz, le père de l’artiste] used to sit in the living room, and then she had it in the bedroom until it entered the museum. This portrait, Tête d’Homme (1971), was also in the living room until we decided it was a bit too terrifying, and we changed it to another one. I love 17th-century art, and it looks like a Poussin self-portrait, so there’s been some speculation that Picasso could have seen it at the Louvre. And then I realized that was not quite the case, and that he looked more like a Christ or something. That, I could not really explain.

In 2017, you curated “Picasso and Maya: Father and Daughter” at the Gagosian Gallery in Paris. What have you done differently here?



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