Picasso and Sylvette


Sylvette in the Studio Vallauris, 2008

The major retrospective in Bremen in 2014, Sylvette, Sylvette Sylvette – Picasso and the Model has enabled a deepening understanding of her influence on Picasso as his muse and presence through the spring and summer of 1954. Picasso developed a mode of expression singularly to capture her with a passionate intensity that had not been in his works since the portraits of Marie Therese Walter.

Louis Aragon said Picasso was the eternal adolescent. Sylvette embodied youth. His paintings of Sylvette are a progressive obliteration of the distance between the said and the unsaid; the seen and the unseen. Sylvette, now as Corbett; her portraits and figure paintings of Picasso are an act of reconciliation, and when she returns to the studio in Vallauris in her mind, it is an opening and cleansing of the doors of perception.

Sylvette David at nineteen years old—a beautiful young woman—encapsulated the youthful optimism of post war Europe. The Bremen Catalogue Raisonné of the Sylvette series lists 73 works by Picasso, stretching from 1954 to 1970, and ends with the giant Sylvette projects for Rotterdam and New York. The last grand oeuvre of Picasso is a monumental Sylvette in white cement and pulverized granite betograve. Its enduring strength reflects the qualities of Corbett’s art as seen in this current exhibition. It is from these distinctive sources that Corbett’s art is reforming, creating a new state of equilibrium and counterpoise.

Lucien Berman
September 2015

‘A Luminous World – Picasso’s Muse’ opens 1st November 2015.
View Lydia Corbett’s Exhibition>>>


Picasso in his Youth, 2013

© Fosse Gallery Fine Art