'Revealed' photo exhibit captures famous artists at work

 'Revealed' photo exhibit captures famous artists at work
Pablo Picasso in the studio of the villa La Californie in Cannes, 1960, with his future wife, Jacqueline Roque, playing with their dalmatian. (Andre Sartres / Paris Match / Sofitel Luxury Hotels)

In a great work of art, the artist's hand is invisible. Not so in the traveling exhibition "Revealed," which shows famous artists at work in their studios. The series of nearly 40 photographs has been culled from the archives of the French weekly magazine Paris Match by Pablo Picasso's grandson, Olivier Widmaier Picasso.

The pictures are showing in lobbies and other public spaces at Sofitel hotels in five cities, beginning in New York and ending in Beverly Hills next April. In between, the exhibit will be in Washington, D.C., Chicago and Montreal.

Picasso, whose mother, Maya, is the daughter of the Cubist master and his French mistress and model, Marie-Thérèse Walter, says the exhibit is suited for a hotel run because it is an intimate experience. Through the lens of various Paris Match photographers we see Pablo Picasso playing with a Dalmatian in a studio cluttered with his art; Kees van Dongen painting Brigitte Bardot, who peers curiously at his canvas; Salvador Dalí painting a rhino from what appears to be inside of its habitat at the zoo; and Marc Chagall hard at work on a giant mural at the Palais Garnier opera house in Paris.

Of particular interest is the way the various artists do or don't interact with the camera.

"You see the difference between artists," Picasso says. "You see one who is at ease with his interior. He does what he wants and the photographer has no power over the situation. Then there are others who want to show the viewer something."

Dalí, for example, is clearly performing, while Pablo Picasso is not.

"My grandfather was impressed by photography very early in his career, even in 1905 when he was poor and living in Montmartre," Picasso said. "You see how comfortable he is with photographers and photography."

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