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Matinee: Picasso's Foray into Photography Share This on LinkedIn   Tweet This   Forward This

17 April 2021

Saturday matinees long ago let us escape from the ordinary world to the island of the Swiss Family Robinson or the mutinous decks of the Bounty. Why not, we thought, escape the usual fare here with Saturday matinees of our favorite photography films?

So we're pleased to present the 392nd in our series of Saturday matinees today: Picasso's Foray into Photography.

In this 15:47 presentation on Goldmark TV, a video venture of the English gallery of the same name, presenter Max Waterhouse pages through the little-known Diurnes portfolio.

The portfolio is the only known photographic venture by Pablo Picasso. Published when he was 80 years old, it was made in collaboration with the young photographer André Villers, who was half a century his junior.

The story begins when Henri Matisse died in November 1954 and Picasso distracted himself from his sorrow by making a set of paper masks for his children to play with.

Years later, walking through town, he met the 23-year-old Villiers, who had been sent there at the age of 17 to recuperate from decalcification. By the time he met Picasso, he was finally able to go for a walk. The two hit it off, despite the difference in their ages.

He gave Villiers the old masks to play around with and the photographer used them as photographic masks to frame his images.

Diurnes or Daytime shows the real world in daylight photographs shaped by the animalistic masks of personality. The variety of the photographs peeking through the masks is as engaging as the shapes of the masks themselves.

Waterhouse gives an excellent lecture about the works and that period in the lives of both Picasso and Villers as he pages carefully through the portfolio. You can see more of the work at the Goldmark Gallery page for the book.

Who knows, it may, perhaps, inspire you to play around a bit with masking your own images.

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