A Conversation With the Keeper of the Picasso Archives

Tatyana Franck | Photo by Krystal Ramirez

Tatyana Franck | Photo by Krystal Ramirez

Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art’s new exhibit, Creatures and Creativity, showcases a number of never-before-seen works by Pablo Picasso. The gallery hosts 43 pieces, including 19 lithographs, 13 linocuts, eight paintings and three rare plates. During a sneak peak, Tatyana Franck, keeper of the Picasso Archives explains the intimate nature of this unique Picasso showing.

What does it mean to be keeper of the Picasso Archives?

I’m the curator of Picasso’s personal collection. I have been working for Claude Picasso [the late artist’s son] for eight years. He gave me that trust to take care of his collection. I always wanted to become a museum director … that means you have to be a good curator but also a good manager.

Picasso has been shown at the Bellagio Gallery before. What makes this exhibit unique?

Most [of these works] have never been shown before [in the United States]. [Picasso] never signed his work, except when he wanted to sell it. Because all these works belonged to him, none of them are signed. People want to have a big signature, but because those works belonged to Pablo Picasso himself, they are more important and, paradoxically, they are even more valuable. This is a very intimate show. This is not a normal Picasso show. … [Also] rare is the painting “Figure” representing Françoise Gilot; two days later he did the very same painting in lithograph. That’s unique in Picasso’s history. He never did the exact same figure in the two different mediums. … With painting, [Picasso] could not trace [his process] because he was painting on top of a work, so he had no proof of his previous gesture. That’s why printmaking was so important to him. With printmaking he can see each step of the process, like a diary.

How did you choose what to include in Creatures and Creativity?

His style always changed when he entered a new relationship with a wife, so that’s how we focused the exhibition. We really focused on the human figure, it was so important for Picasso. We really wanted to show Picasso’s creative process.

Why pick the Bellagio and Las Vegas to unveil these works?

Why not Las Vegas? [Laughs.] This story started 17 years ago when the Picasso restaurant opened at the Bellagio. Claude Picasso did the furniture, the tapestry, carpets the plates, everything—that’s how we became involved in the Bellagio.

Any other exhibit highlights?

Eighteen states of original lithograph composition following “The Two Nude Women.” It starts with a very realistic composition and ends with a very abstract one. You can see, in one series, Picasso’s entire style. The theme of the lying woman comes from the Blue Period of 1905. … It’s very interesting because we are in 1945—he’d met Françoise Gilot two years [before], but he was still in the relationship with Dora Maar. As the composition evolves, Dora Maar starts to disappear and Françoise Gilot is much more important. She is growing growing growing and Dora Maar is disappearing. It’s very cinematic.

Picasso: Creatures & Creativity

10 a.m.-8 p.m. daily through Jan. 10 with free docent tours at 2 p.m., Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art, $19 ($16 for locals), 702-693-7871, Bellagio.com/bgfa.

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