Maya Ruiz-Picasso, born on September 5, 1935, is the daughter of Pablo Picasso and his iconic muse Marie-Thérèse Walter. Her personal collection is the result of an extraordinary legacy: Picasso died in 1973, leaving behind a vast body of work including paintings, drawings, sculptures, ceramics, engravings and lithographs, but also personal archives and photographs which were divided between his surviving heirs (the four children and his last wife). In 1979, the artworks donated to the French State by Picasso's heirs enriched the national collection and allowed for the creation of the Musée Picasso in Paris, a monographic museum entirely devoted to the artist's life and work.
Since her father’s death, Maya Ruiz-Picasso has dedicated her time and energy to highlighting Picasso’s genius, contributing to its knowledge through her expertise and support of many projects. In the 1980s, she presented a part of her collection through several exhibitions in Asia, showing Picasso’s most intimate images and unpublished archival material. While she has donated works to leading arts institutions over the years, she continues to dwell among her favorites, surrounding herself and her children with an intimate “family album” unlike any other.
This unique collection of paintings and sculpture, selected by Maya’s daughter, art historian and curator Diana Widmaier Picasso, includes major works in an unprecedented exhibition. Drawn from the forty-year period between 1931 and 1971, the selection provides a personal view of the family history reflected in Picasso’s celebrated oeuvre. They include several portraits of Marie-Thérèse Walter; the famous portrait of Maya as a child, Maya à la poupée et au cheval (1938); Le Baiser (1931), a voracious kiss expressing an act of both love and violence; and El bobo (1959), the portrait of a lovable street urchin, inspired by characters in paintings by Spanish old masters Velázquez and Murillo. Also on view is the plaster model of Picasso’s figure of the pregnant Françoise Gilot, La femme enceinte (1959).