©Pablo Picasso - The rescue 1932

Picasso The rescue 1932
The rescue
1932 130x97cm oil/canvas
Galerie Beyeler, Basel, Switzerland

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From Galerie Beyeler, Basel:
By 1927 at the latest Picasso had met the young Marie-Thérèse Walter, who soon became his lover. The dramatic work Le sauvetage (Rescue) shows three women, each bearing a resemblance to Marie-Thérèse. The figure at the centre, seemingly still just alive, is being rescued from the water as though she were the mirror image of the upper figure. This and the ubiquitous narcissi prompted Reinhold Hohl to interpret the painting as an adaptation of the myth of Narcissus, who in Ovid’s Metamorphoses is said to have fallen in love with his own reflection and, as he died, transmuted into the flower named after him. Transformation is the painting’s overriding theme: the flowers are formed in the breath of the rescued figure, while as an ensemble the three bodies merge into a single overarching gesture. One feature in the work bears particular art historical interest: the uppermost head shows the first instance of a facial expression that was to recur in 1937 in one of the central figures in Guernica.