Pablo Picasso: Lee Miller’s Portraits as Arlésienne, 1937
Pablo Picasso painted six portraits of American photographer (and former fashion model) Lee Miller in the summer of 1937, which he spent with Miller and her husband, the British painter Roland Penrose. (I wrote about one of them here.) According to the Picasso Museum of Barcelona, which hosted an exhibition of Miller’s intimate photographs of the artist in 2007, Picasso paints Lee wearing one or more elements from the traditional costume of Arles, France, whose lace collars and boldly colored skirts and little white caps and hair ribbons would go on to inspire such current designers as Christian Lacroix.
Miller, a gamine, patrician blonde, inspired many artists, including Picasso’s lover Dora Maar, Jean Cocteau, and, most famously, the surrealist Man Ray, who was her teacher. But Miller was more than a muse; she was an intelligent, exciting artist, and she quickly rose from being Ray’s student to his collaborator, and they created some wonderful art together. San Francisco’s Legion of Honor is currently hosting an exhibition about the pair, which I wrote about for ELLE.com.