Saturday, January 27, 2007


At my instigation, Robert has been writing about his neighborhood on the lovely Dorset coast, beginning with the spectacular Athelhampton House which served for a while as home to the noted Cubist painter Mareva.

I confess --- I never heard of her before -- but actually -- I have been looking at (and enjoying) her portrait for many years (above) painted by her husband, Diego Rivera and later collected by Alfred Stieglitz and donated by his wife, Georgia O'Keefe, to the Art Institute.

It's just that --- well -- I'm not sure that even her mother would have recognized her in this portrait.

Did Diego really like her ?

He gave more attention to this lovely pattern across her chest.

I guess it's no surprise that the marriage didn't last very long -- Marevna moved on to Chaim Soutine, and and as everyone knows, Diego eventually married Frida -- whose reputation has finally eclipsed his own. (this is beginning to sound like a soap opera isn't it?)

Say what you will about Diego (Wikipedia calls him "a known womanizer of violent temper") -- but he did like women who were smart, tough, and creative. How many of Picasso's girlfriends are at the Guggenheim and Tate ?)

But not everyone thought Marevna was ugly:

Above is Modigliani's portrait of her -- so yes, maybe she did look a little -- ummm -- focused.

Regarding her own career as an artist -- her paintings can be found in several major museums -- but above is the only online image that I've liked -- and I'm not sure you could call it cubist


Anonymous marly said...

I dunno...there's a bold long nose and a prim little mouth in each, and I think that right eye in the Riviera is acquainted with the eyes in the Modigliani!

January 27, 2007  
Anonymous marly all over again said...


Think I must have typed Riviera instead of Rivera. Must be dreaming of warmth and color and something not in a little frozen village.

January 27, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I too would like to be on a Caribbean beach or because I enjoy food and wine so much, on a Riviera with sun.
It is true Briantspuddle (or Bryantspiddle) Dorset does not sound as sunny as Warm Springs Georgia, nor as “hot” as St Tropez, but that does not mean it isn’t cosy in winter and warm and bright in Summer. We swim in the sea which is clear blue and much cleaner than the Med. As far as colour is concerned we are as colourful as any place on earth. Our “open gardens” in June has become so popular we are now catering for coach loads of visitors from all over the British Isles. We have had only two nights of frost this winter so far. We found a geranium alive outside yesterday, overlooked in September when it should have been brought inside. Still no snow.
Our neighbouring village is Tolpuddle where the Trades Union Movement was borne and where contemporary statue was erected a few years ago to the “Martyrs”. I will stick some pictures up on my blog for you to see. We have an Eric Gill sculpture in the village and some Frinks around the place too! The sculpture at Kingston Lacy is worth a mention and so the list, as I said is, endless.

January 29, 2007  
Blogger Conrad H. Roth said...

"How many of Picasso's girlfriends are at the Guggenheim and Tate?"

Well, Dora Maar has some noted work. Pollock's woman, Lee Krasner, and Yves Tanguy's, Kay Sage, and Delaunay's, Sonia--not to mention Rivera's more famous wife--have all struck commercial gold. There's endogamy for you.

January 29, 2007  
Blogger chris miller said...

Thanks for the mention of Dora Maar -- I had a great time looking at all of Picasso's portraits of her. (some of them were even beautiful !)

Maybe her own work deserves just as much recognition -- but so far it hasn't happened.

January 30, 2007  
Blogger Robert said...

I was lucky enough to be invited to the opening of this gallery last year. Her paintings seem to follow the style of the time, cubism, pointillism (pointalism) etc. She clearly had an interesting life filled with interesting people! Her Grand daughter is a visitor to Athelhampton so there is still a live link.

February 01, 2007  

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