Click on photos to enlarge.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Paloma Picasso

Paloma et Her Doll, 1952,
Pablo Picasso
Portrait of the infant Paloma,
1952,Pablo Picasso
What's in a name? "With a name like Smuckers, it has to be good." With a name like Picasso, it had damned well better be good. It would be easy to dismiss the gemstone art of Paloma Picasso by suggesting that she is simply trading on her father's name. And, there's no doubt that simple name recognition has played a part in the initial rise to fame of Pablo Picasso's youngest child, also the daughter of the painter and writer, Françoise Gilot. Her parents were never married. Her mother was Picasso's second mistress following Dora Maar in 1946 (there were at least one or two more). Both women were artists. Francoise was the mother of film director, Claude Picasso, born in 1947. Paloma also had a half-brother, Paulo, born in 1921 and a half-sister, Maya, born in 1935. Just for the record, Picasso also had two wives, Olga Khokhlova, and Jacqueline Roque. Thanks to her father's unabashed philandering, Paloma's family tree resembles a honeysuckle vine.
Picasso playing with his children, Paloma and Claude.
Françoise Gilot, Paloma's mother.
Paloma Picasso was born in 1949, and grew up in the shadow cast by her father and the spotlight of world renown recognition of his dynamic importance as the kingpin of Modern Art. Her mother was the only woman to ever leave Picasso, taking the children (Paloma and Claude) and moving out in 1953. Later, she penned a tell-all book, Life With Picasso, detailing the artist's sexual affairs, published in 1964. At the time, such books were almost unheard-of. Vengefully, Picasso refused to ever see Claude or Paloma again. Picasso's second wife, Jacqueline, even prevented the two from attending their father's funeral in 1973. Thus Picasso the artist had very little impact on his young daughter's childhood, as compared to that of her artist mother. In fact, judging by the paintings Picasso did of her as a child (top), his daughter probably influenced him more than vice-versa. Thankfully, Paloma gets her lovely face from her mother (above, left).

More than just a famous last name...
Though certainly displaying creative tendencies as a child, despite her last name, Paloma Picasso had no impulse to become a painter like her mother and father. Her jewelry career began around 1968 while working in Paris as a costume designer. She began buying inexpensive gemstones at flea markets, fashioning them herself into jewelry items, which attracted the favorable attention of art critics, undoubtedly due to her name. From there she began a formal study in jewelry design. Her friend, the well-known couturier, Yves Saint Laurent, asked her to create accessories for one of his collections. Starting around 1971, Paloma then began designing for the Greek jewelry company, Zolotas. By 1980, she had moved to the top, working for Tiffany's in New York. Not stopping there, she formulated a perfume for L'Oreal, which evolved into a complete line of cosmetic, bath, and body products (above). Her name and design tastes have also spawned a line of handbags (below).

In the world of designer accessories, the name, "Paloma," has eclipsed that of Picasso.
Pablo Picasso never created
anything like this.
Like her father, Paloma Picasso's creations can be found in the collections of at least two major museums. The Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of Natural History displays a 396.30-carat kunzite necklace (below)designed by her. It was created in 1986 to commemorate Tiffany’s 100-year anniversary. This piece is not unlike the colorful gems used in Paloma's early days as an aspiring jewelry designer. While in Chicago, visitors to The Field Museum of Natural History can admire her 408.63-carat moonstone bracelet accented with diamond "lightning bolts" (right). It is a reflection of Paloma’s signature of using vivid gemstones and whimsical designs (reminiscent of some of her father's work) to create jewelry items that seem well ahead of their time. Meanwhile, for those with less expensive tastes, Paloma's namesake perfume can be picked up at Walmart (1.7 oz.) for $46.86.

Kunzite Necklace, Smithsonian Museum, 1986, Paloma Picasso


No comments:

Post a Comment