Photographs from Lee Miller Archive capture the enduring friendship of two major artists
When Lee Miller met Pablo Picasso in 1937, it was a meeting of minds that lasted more than three decades up until Picasso's death in 1973. Somewhere in-between the pair became mutual muses, with Miller photographing Picasso more than a thousand times, while Miller was painted by Picasso numerous times.
The bond between these two major artists is made clear in Lee Miller and Picasso, a major new exhibition in the Scottish National Portrait Gallery's Robert Mapplethorpe Gallery, and which forms part of the SNPG's 2015 Season of Photography. More than 100 images and objects selected from the Lee Miller Archive will highlight Miller and Picasso's friendship during turbulent times, and will include the wedding photograph of Miller and English surrealist Roland Penrose.
'Miller and Picasso's legacy is still very much with us,' explains the show's curator Annie Lyden, 'and their enduring friendship shows what it was like to be around at that time in history through these very intimate photographs. There are lots of images taken of Picasso and his friends and colleagues, but very few of Miller and him together.'
The two that stand-out of these for Lyden show off how Miller and Picasso's friendship was sustained despite long periods apart. 'One is from 1944,' Lyden says, 'when Lee was working with the armed forces during the liberation of Paris, and realises she's just round the corner from Picasso's studio so she goes and sees him. There's a very tender look between them, and you can see the joy and relief of them finding one another again. The second is from 1970, and there's this look that's shared, and after everything they've been through, you can see the passing of time.'
Scottish National Portrait Gallery, Edinburgh, Sat 23 May−Sun 6 Sep