Pablo Picasso, Olga Pensive, 1932. Pastel and pencil on sanded woven paper.
Museo Picasso Málaga presents Picasso’s first wife Olga Khokhlova and her story, in the first show of its 2019 exhibition calendar: Olga Picasso. The exhibition came about from the letters and photographs found in the travel trunk of the Russian dancer, who was Bernard Ruiz-Picasso’s grandmother, and it covers the years she and Picasso were together as a couple. It puts into perspective the creation of some of Picasso’s greatest works, and reconstrues this body of work in the context of a personal story that developed alongside another, political and social, story.
Olga Khokhlova (Nezhin, Ukraine, 1891– Cannes, France, 1955) was the daughter of a colonel in the Russian Imperial Army. In 1911 she joined the prestigious and innovative Ballet Russes company, which was highly successful in Europe at the start of the 20th-century under the direction of Serguei Diaghilev. She first met Pablo Picasso in Rome in the spring of 1917, when the artist was designing the sets and costumes for the ballet Parade. They were married in Paris, on 12th July 1918, and their first and only child, Paul, was born in February 1921. The couple separated in 1935, although they remained married until Olga’s death in Cannes, in 1955.
(Musée national Picasso-Paris. © RMN Grand Palais/Mathieu Rabeau. © Sucesión Pablo Picasso, VEGAP, Madrid, 2018.)