“Picasso, abuser of women”: demonstrators in Barcelona denounce the treatment of women by a Spanish painter
A teacher from an art school in Barcelona organized a demonstration in a museum dedicated to Pablo Picasso with the aim of shedding light on the sometimes insensitive behavior of the Spanish painter towards women.
Maria Llopis and seven of her students appeared at the Picasso Museum wearing t-shirts bearing the inscription “Picasso, aggressor of women” and others referring to Dora Maar, a French artist allegedly abused by Picasso during of their relationship in the 1930s and 1940s.
It was not an attack on Picasso. I don’t believe in the culture of cancellation at all. I believe in the truth, in not hiding things
Maria Llopis, teacher and protester
Last week’s protest echoed the global debate over men’s treatment of women, led by the #MeToo movement, which includes reassessing the behavior of deceased figures as well as the living.
In Spain, women’s rights have come to the forefront of politics in recent years after several high-profile cases of rape and abuse.
Llopis, 45, said she wanted to lead a low-key protest to say the museum was not putting enough emphasis on Picasso’s female relationships, especially in Maar’s work and his troubled life after their breakup.
“It was not an attack on Picasso,” she said. “I don’t believe in the culture of cancellation at all. I believe in the truth, in not hiding things.”
The Picasso Museum was not available for Reuters comment.
Its director, Emmanuel Guigon, said La Vanguardia newspaper that he respected the protest and that Picasso was undeniably “macho” but that he was not aware of any cases of physical abuse.
The museum is planning a debate in November on the artist’s relationship with women, he said.
Picasso, who lived from 1881 to 1973, had many relationships throughout his life.
In a 2001 book, his granddaughter Marina Picasso wrote that he would get rid of women after “subjecting them to his animal sexuality, taming, bewitching, ingesting and crushing them on his web”.
Art historian Victoria Combalia, author of a biography on Maar, accused Llopis’ protest of being superficial, but she supported putting information in museums about the context behind some paintings.
There is evidence that at least once Picasso most likely punched Maar in the eye, and that he could be considered abusive of women in general, she said.