|The Picassos with Swiss artist Gottard Schuh outside the Hotel Baur au Lac|
In 1932 the Kunsthaus became the first ever museum to host a Picasso retrospective. Museums were supposed to exhibit the works of established dead artists, not of living artists like Picasso, who was 50 at the time, and clearly much alive. The Kunsthaus, very much at the cutting edge, went one step further and asked Picasso to curate the exhibition himself. He selected over 200 paintings; so many, that the Kunsthaus had to temporarily remove its permanent collection.
Picasso arrived in Zurich with his wife, the former Russian dancer from Sergei Diaghlev’s Ballet Russes, Olga Khokhlova, and their son Paolo and they checked in at the very plush Baur au Lac, then, as now, one of the world’s greatest hotels. They had, to all intents and purposes, the appearance of a good bourgeois family: Olga enjoyed the shopping on the Bahnhofstrasse; ten year old Paolo was bored; they went sailing on the lake and enjoyed the beautiful September sunshine; they enjoyed a meal of boiled ham in the beautiful Belvoir restaurant. But Picasso was a regular attendee at the balls and fancy dress parties of Europe’s old aristocracy, a fixture in the Parisian café society of Jean Cocteau and Coco Chanel, a man who slept with nearly every woman who took his fancy and, furthermore, a persistent frequenter of brothels. He had recently fallen in love and had began a secret affair to sleep with his 17 year old model Marie-Therese Walter. But being a good catholic, Picasso refused to contemplate a divorce.
|Head of Sleeping Woman|
|Visitors at the exhibition Picasso|
|Girl in a Chemise|
|Woman with Yellow Belt|