“In the first room we are welcomed by Maurizio Cattalan’s Picasso. I saw this work when he first presented it at MoMA in New York in 1998. Visitors would take photographs next to him the way you would with Mickey Mouse at Disneyland. It’s as if to say he’s more than an iconic painter; he’s an iconic figure for popular culture. He also did a performance where he had several actors dressed as Picasso. “
Maurizio Cattelan, Untitled (Picasso), 1998.
“Some artists, like Koons, George Condo and Jasper Johns, are inspired by Picasso and then, when they become successful, collect Picasso. Here, in a recent work from 2011, Koons imitates Picasso’s signature in the upper left corner of the painting. He’s superimposed different images. One of them is of a 1969 “kiss” painting by Picasso that Koons bought at auction. There is also a copy of a Titian, some antique sculptures and a reference to African art. This is interesting coming from an artist like Koons who always claimed his spiritual father was Duchamp. Koons is constantly changing styles.”
“When artists think of Picasso, this is what represents Picasso the most: these psychological portraits and this double profile. I love watching people look at this wall. Most of these paintings come from the Picasso museum or my family. On the top, second from right, is my grandmother, Marie Thérèse-Walter, who met Picasso in 1927 when she was 17 and he was 45. Below her just to the right, is my great grandmother. Both of these portraits were done in 1939—which is surprising considering the overwhelming presence of Marie- Thérèse’s beauty and the fact that this is 12 years after they met. I love the pose. She’s very confident. There’s so much sensuality. Everything with Picasso is about lust and the flesh. My grandmother spent a lot of time with her mother when she was not with my grandfather. Picasso and my great grandmother got along very well. She was a great pianist so he was very amused by the fact that she could play jazz for him.”