Two years ago the Dutch national television broadcasted the same documentary series presented by Mr. Jeroen Krabbé (a well known Dutch actor, director, presenter and painter), portraying the work and life of Vincent Van Gogh. A series I absolutely loved because Van Gogh is one of my all-time favorite painters and getting an insight look into his life, the places he lived and visited, background stories of the people he hung out with and the environments that inspired his art, was an absolute pleasure.
In this year’s series Mr. Krabbé takes us on a trip through France, Spain and Italy, following the footsteps of the richest, most famous and maybe even most talented painter that has ever lived; Pablo Picasso.
Throughout the series we get to know Picasso, the development of his art, the women that inspired his work, his homes and different lifestyles he’s led. An extraordinary man, who’s lived a fascinating life. An artist that changed the style of art as easily as he exchanged women. A man who’s had a massive impact on all who surrounded him and leaving behind the most amazing artworks man has ever made!
The series consists of 8 half an hour long episodes, in which we follow Picasso’s life chronologically. Starting off getting to know Pablo as a child, followed by the different stages of his life and the women he spend them with. Ending with his death that was followed by a five year long tragic fight over his enormous heritage by his many descendants, ex-lovers and family members.
episode 1 1881-1905 : De jeugd van een genie / The childhood of a genius
The Journey takes off in Malaga, where Pablo Picasso lived as a child. Pablo’s fascination for bullfighting can allready be seen in the artwork he’s made in his childhood. We follow the young painter to Paris where he moves into the artist residencies Bateau Lavoie. There he meets one of his first big loves; Fernande Olivier.
episode 2 1904-1908 : Het leven krijgt kleur / Life gets colourful
In the second episode we see Picasso’s paintings evolve from pink and optimistic, inspired by his love for Fernande, into abstract art. During their summer in the Spanish mountain village Gósol, the color Iberic orange catches his eye and he starts painting abstracted, mask-like faces, which for example to can be seen on ‘Demoiselles d’Avignon’.
episode 3 1908-1915 : Over vriendschap en concurrentie / Friendship and competition
Back in Paris Picasso’s friendship with Braque results in one of the most renewing and controversial artforms of the entire art history; Cubism. His cubistic and semi-abstract work is inspired by both his luxurious life with Fernande and his secret love affair with Eva Gouel. When Eva dies in 1915, Picasso becomes deeply depressed.
episode 4 1915-1927 : l’Epoque duchesse / The era of the duchess
It’s 1917 when poet Jean Cocteau askes Picasso to design costumes for the legendary Ballets Russes. Pablo travels to Rome and immediately falls in love with ballerina Olga Koklova. They get married and move to Paris. On his wife’s request, Picasso paints her portraits in a very classical and romantic way.
episode 5 1927-1936 : Twee vrouwen / Two women
The 17-years-old Marie-Thérèse Walter, with whom Picasso has an 8 year long secret love affair, is the inspiration for many surrealist paintings and sculptures. When Marie-Thérèse gets pregnant of their daughter Maya, both Picasso’s affair and marriage end and the painter finds himself in a deep personal crisis once more.
episode 6 1936-1940 : Dora en de burgeroorlog / Dora and the civil war
When the Spanish Republicans ask Picasso to create an anti-Franco artwork as their contribution for the World Exhibition of Paris in 1937, the bombing of Guernica becomes the theme for this massive artwork. Picasso’s new mistress Dora Maar photographs Picasso during the creation of Guernica, one of the most famous anti-war artworks.
episode 7 1940-1953 : Het naoorlogse gelukkige gezinsleven / Pastwar happy family life
During World War II Picasso meets his new wife, the 40-years younger law student and artist Francoise Gilot. After the war they live a happy and quiet family life with their kids Claude and Paloma in the South of France. Their happiness ends in 1953 when Francoise, with their children, leaves Picasso because she can’t take his continuous cheating.
episode 8 1953-1973 : Op leven en good / On life and dead
In 1961 Picasso marries the 46-years younger Jacqueline Roque. They move to Mougins where they live a very isolated life and Picasso starts art battles with masters like Rembrandt, Velazquez and Manet in his studio. The artist works passionately until he days in 1973.
Pablo Picasso was a genius artist, living a fascinating (love)life which resulted in the most amazing artwork. Mr. Krabbé’s is an excellent storyteller and his enthusiasm for the painter and the artworks is very contagiously. I’m actually pretty sure that if you wouldn’t really be that interested in the work of Picasso, you’d still have a great time watching this series. (Please note, the series is presented in Dutch).
For those of you who can’t get enough of getting an insight look into the lives and artwork of the most fascinating artists, I’ve got some really good news to share. For the next series Mr. Krabbé will follow a painter that left behind everything to be able to totally focus on his art; Mr. Paul Gauguin!
For more information or to watch the episodes, have a look at the npo website.
Last weekend my friend Suzanne and I visited museum De Domijnen in Sittard (NL). Since I did go to high school in Sittard and I always had an interest in culture and history, I’d been in the Domijnen many times. But times are a changing and the museum got a new site, being a part of a newly build cultural house that hosts not only exhibitions but also the library, a small cinema, theatre, bar and a school.
We hadn’t checked the exhibition beforehand, but the theme could not have been more relevant for the current developments around the world. The exhibit ‘Over de grens’ which means ‘Crossing borders’, featured work of artists who are looking for connections with people from other cultures, seeking contact with and opening up towards others.
What mostly spoke to me were the sculptures by German artist Brele Scholz. The faces of her ‘Umgebaute Europäer’ (Converted Europeans) can literally be opened up to see what’s going on inside somebody else’s head.
Let’s hope artworks like Brele’s will be an inspiration to cross those borders, to open up to each other and be curious about what’s going on inside somebody else’s head.