Maya Ruiz-Picasso, daughter of Pablo Picasso, dies at 87

Maya Ruiz Picasso Walterdaughter of painter Pablo Picasso and Marie-Thérése Walter, has died this Tuesday at the age of 87, according to a statement that the French lawyer Richard Malka, close to the family, sent to the Frances Presse agency. “Maya Ruiz-Picasso died peacefully this morning surrounded by her family,” the letter stated. “Rest in peace”, pointed out the Minister of Culture and Sport, miquel icetathrought social media.

Born in the French town of Boulogne-Billancourt in 1935 as María de la Concepción, she was the first daughter of the painter from Malaga although the second of his four offspring. His mother was Marie-Thérése Walter, a very young 17-year-old shop assistant in some galleries in Paris who was the painter’s lover from Malaga when he was married to Olga Khokhlovawho would end up separating when they found out about the pregnancy.

Maya dedicated much of her professional career as an art historian to promote Picasso’s legacy. Two exhibitions that bring together almost two hundred works and that can be seen until December 31 at the Picasso Museum in Paris celebrate the donations that the artist’s daughter made to French heritage, the last, nine masterpieces -six paintings, two sculptures and a sketchbook-, as well as the parent-child relationship and how his birth increased the artist’s interest in the theme of childhood.

One of the rooms of the exhibition 'Maya Ruiz-Picasso, fille de Pablo'.

One of the rooms of the exhibition ‘Maya Ruiz-Picasso, fille de Pablo’.

Picasso Museum in Paris

In Picasso’s work, Maya is represented in an exceptional set of portraits cubists who collect scenes of private life and stand out for their tenderness and affection. Some examples are maya with doll either Maya in sailor suit. Between January 1938 and November of the following year, the author of the guernica He produced at least 14 paintings starring his daughter, which constitute detailed physical and psychological studies of the young woman and project the joy that her presence brought to her father’s life. It is the “most impressive series dedicated to a girl”, according to art historian Werner Spies.

After World War II, when the painter settled in the south of France, where he formed a new family with Francoise Gilot, Maya continued to share moments of great closeness with her father, whom she saw regularly. She was invited to work as her assistant in the documentary film Picasso’s mystery. In 1960, Maya married a Navy officer named Pierre Widmaier, with whom she had three children: Olivier (1961), Richard (1964) and Diana (1971).

[La primera gran exposición inmersiva de Picasso aterriza en Madrid]

Maya’s deep attachment to her father is evidenced by the devotion with which she kept the clothes, nail clippings and locks of hair that the superstitious artist regularly sent to Marie-Thérèse for safekeeping. Both fascinated and terrified by death, Picasso observed numerous rituals to ward off curses. These mementos are both witnesses to private devotional acts and repositories of memories of the years her daughter and her father spent together.

In statements to Agence France Presse, one of Maya’s sons, Olivier, his mother and his grandfather had a very close relationship: “He is the only person in the world I know who He wasn’t talking about Pablo Picasso but about dad. I think that testifies to that exceptional relationship I had with him.”

More than five years ago the Government granted Spanish nationality by naturalization letter to Maya Ruiz-Picasso, just three days before the presentation of the exhibition Pity and terror in Picasso: the road to Guernica, which was held at the Museo Reina Sofía to commemorate the 80th anniversary of the creation of this painting. The death of the great expert in the painter’s work occurs at the gates of the beginning of the Picasso year, which commemorates the half century of the artist’s death.

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