Maya Ruiz-Picasso, Daughter Of Pablo, and The Picasso Century

Never-Before-Seen Drawings Picasso Made With His Daughter Go on View in Paris

The Picasso Museum in Paris is staging an exhibition of never-before-seen works by the Spanish master, bequeathed by his eldest child, Maya Ruiz-Picasso, in 2021. The show features nine major works by the artist and personal family items dating from 1895 to 1971, and is running until December 31st, 2022. The selection includes drawings, paintings, photographs, ephemera, origami sculptures, a coloring in book, and an adorable how-to-paint book that the artist and his lover, Marie-Thérèse Walter, made for Maya when she was aged between five and seven. Picasso filled the pages with playful scenes – animals, birds, clowns, acrobats, horses and doves, and on some pages, Maya made impressive attempts to imitate the master. She also graded her father’s work, scribbling the number “10” on a circus scene, to show her approval.


The exhibition, Maya Ruiz-Picasso, Daughter Of Pablo, was co-curated by Picasso Museum curator Emilia Philippot and Maya’s daughter Diana Widmaier-Ruiz-Picasso, who discovered drawings and sketchbooks by chance while going through storage. She showed her mother, who is now 86, and she remembered making the drawings with her father. Widmaier-Ruiz-Picasso told the Observer: “She said, ‘Of course, those are my sketchbooks when I was little’...  It was a very moving moment, not only because you’re talking about one of the greatest artists but also because it made it very human. I was excited. Then I was moved.” 


“Who has never heard it said when looking at a canvas by Picasso, ‘A child could have done that!'” Diana wrote in the book accompanying the show. As Maya, his first daughter, recalls, ‘the mystery of life, and therefore of childhood, always filled that father of mine with interest.’” Widmaier-Ruiz-Picasso is an art historian, curator and jewellery designer, who has just published her latest book, Picasso Sorcier, exploring Picasso’s superstitions and belief in magic. She described the discovery of the sketchbooks as “fortuitous” because she was co-curating a major exhibition for the Musée Picasso-Paris on his close bond with his first daughter, born of his passionate love for Marie-Thérèse Walter, whom he met in 1927 when she was just 17.


Didier Ottinger, deputy director of the Musée national d’art moderne, Centre Pompidou, is currently staging a Picasso exhibition at the National Gallery of Victoria; a collaboration with the Musée Picasso-Paris. The world-premiere Melbourne Winter Masterpieces 2022 exhibition, The Picasso Century, charts the extraordinary career of Pablo Picasso in dialogue with the many artists, poets and intellectuals with whom he interacted throughout the 20th century. Featuring over 80 works by Picasso and over 100 works by more than 50 of his contemporaries, drawn from premier French national collections as well as the NGV Collection, the exhibition can be viewed until October 9th, 2022.

June 22, 2022