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84that wealth and fame, but he also detested it." In her research,Hudson-Hill traced Picasso's life back to his childhood in Spain,where his father was an art teacher who recognized very early onthat Picasso was gifted. "Picasso could draw before he could talk,"Hudson-Hill says. "He learned that by drawing a scribble on apage, he would get a churros, like a Spanish doughnut."What fascinated Hudson-Hill most was recounting the stories ofPicasso's mistresses, a widely known fact about that artist. "Ididn't realize, until researching this show, the extent of it,"Hudson-Hill says. "I thought a lot about his personal life - howrelevant are these stories? But these are the stories that are laidbare in his paintings." She describes one 1931 painting, LargeStill Life on a Pedestal Table, as a joyful work, and indeed, thecolours are bold and electric, and the lines are dynamic and lively.But what Hudson-Hill reveals is that the artwork is a disguisedportrait of Picasso's mistress, Marie-Thérèse Walter, painted whenthe artist was still with his first wife, Olga. "Picasso absolutelycouldn't resist painting Marie-Thérèse; she was young, she wasbeautiful, she was curvy and luscious," Hudson-Hill says, "Hegleefully painted her in a series of four paintings; all are coded.Of course once you know that, you can see immediately hervarious body parts embodied in the fruit." Another series, paintedin the late 1920s while Picasso was on vacation with Olga insouthern France, shows distorted female forms playing on abeach. The artist had ensconced Marie-Thérèse one town over,and the paintings were of her and her friends playing volleyball.Hudson-Hill's favourite piece in the exhibition is of another ofPicasso's lovers, Dora Maar, a French photographer. He painted itin 1937, the same year he painted one of his most famous works,Guernica, for which Maar was influential. "She was a beautifulwoman, striking, dark hair, long red fingernails; she was anintense intellectual," recounts Hudson-Hill. Bold colours in thepainting hint at her volatile personality, and visitors will notice atonce something unique about the portrait subject's face: "Theportrait is classic Picasso. Her pose suggests the work should bea profile, but we're seeing both her profile and her full face in oneview. That was one of the extraordinary things that Picassoinvented; he was the first painter to show a profile and a full facein one portrait."Works like these, and others from Picasso's Blue Period, his life-sized sculptures, and his self-portraits will no doubt draw crowdsof Torontonians, and probably many tourists. After all, it's the lastchance we have to see these works up close before they head backto France. "After Musée National Picasso reopens, these worksaren't going to leave France again," Hudson-Hill says.And thanks to Hudson-Hill and her team, which is led by acurator from the Musée National Picasso, it may be the lastchance we have to see the man behind the paintings. Hudson-Hill ends our interview by recounting that Picasso talked a lot.It's a fact that clearly works in her favour. As an interpretiveplanner, it is a boon to be able to bring the artist's voice into thetelling of his stories and decoding of his paintings. Howappropriate, then, that the famous artist once said, "Painting isjust another way of keeping a diary."PICASSO: MASTERPIECES FROM THE MUSÉE NATIONAL PICASSO, PARISis onview at the Art Gallery of Ontario from May 1, 2012 to August 26, 2012.Pablo Picasso (Spanish, 1881-1973). Le Chèvre (The Goat), 1950,Bronze. 120.5 x 72 x 144 cm. Pablo Picasso gift-in-lieu, 1979, MP340. MuséeNational Picasso, Paris. © Picasso Estate SODRAC (2012). © RMN/Béatrice HatalaPablo Picasso (Spanish, 1881-1973). Musicien (Musician), 1972. Oil on Canvas.194.5 x 129.5 cm. Pablo Picasso gift-in-lieu, 1979, MP229. Musée NationalPicasso, Paris. © Picasso Estate SODRAC (2012). © RMN/Jean-Gilles BerizziPablo Picasso (Spanish, 1881-1973). Autoportrait au chapeau de paille. (Self-portraitin Straw Hat), 1938. Oil on canvas. 61 x 46 cm. Pablo Picasso gift-in-lieu, 1979,MP174. Musée National Picasso, Paris. © Picasso Estate SODRAC (2012). © RMN/Jean-Gilles Berizzi

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