Farah Atassi

'Picasso - Bathers'


Musées des Beaux-Arts de Lyon, France


Press release

From summer 1926 to early 1930, Picasso began a period of “magical paintings,” according to the expression of art critic Christian Zervos, who used this expression to emphasize the great power of this group of paintings and their ability to overwhelm the human mind. During this period, which was as foundational as Cubism, the artist pared down his vocabulary to the essential. The summer of 1927, which he spent with his family in Cannes and where he had a large studio, was especially productive. The thread-like, deformed body in Figure (summer 1927) is depicted as in metamorphosis: a minuscule pin-head with no mouth, elongated members, enlarged feet, swollen sexual organs, and the indica- tion of genitalia by the sign of a rhombus. That same summer, shape was reintroduced in the artist’s notebooks, where he made series of bathers with sculptural bodies that look as if they were expan- ding. For the next two years, the Spanish painter spent time with his family in Dinard on the coast of Brittany and worked on an unusual series of bathers that displayed similar deformations but with a playful, childlike appearance.

In 1927, Francis Bacon, who was then eighteen years old, discovered Picasso’s drawings in Paul Rosenberg’s gallery in Paris. He was struck by his magical pain- ting and his bathers from Dinard, as can be seen in his first works. These bathers from the late 1920s return today in large paintings by the artist Farah Atassi, more as a theme than as a subject.

Curated by Sylvie RAMOND, Director General of Pôle des musées d’art de Lyon MBA MAC - Chief Curator, Director Musée des Beaux-Arts de Lyon
and Émilie Bouvard, Director of Collections and Scientific Programme, Fondation Giacometti, Paris

The exhibition is organized in collaboration with the Musée national Picasso-Paris