Exhibition room 5. Marisol Escobar

French sculptor of Venezuelan descent. Escobar’s images of contemporary culture, at once deadpan and satirical in tone, were produced in the context of Pop art; the personal, enigmatic, often primitive elements of her work, however, set it apart from the mainstream of the movement.[...]

Source: The Museum of Modern Art www.moma.org/collection/artist.php?artist_id=3774

Marisol Escobar’s Picasso is one of a series of sculptures this Venezuelan artist made in the late 1970s to honor artists she particularly admired, including Duchamp, Georgia O’Keeffe, and Martha Graham. Each shows its subject in advanced age, and seated, because Marisol Escobar felt she needed to give the artists a place to rest in that stage of their lives.

Her depiction of Picasso emphasizes his age through his deep-set, fearful eyes and the scarlike grooves crisscrossing his face. This evidence of decline, however, is offset by his sturdy legs and the solid timber supporting his massive head. Only a roughly carved heart, pierced by a nail, protrudes from this block. The hands are more ambiguous: disconnected from the torso, they rest flatly on his knees or on the chair’s armrests, as if they were no longer functional. Yet the pair is doubled, seemingly capable of superhuman feats. This haunting portrait captures Picasso at the end of his life, but rather than ridiculing him it evokes respect for his perseverance.

Source: exhibition catalogue for “Post-Picasso: Contemporary Reactions,” Michael FitzGerald