Friendship between Lee Miller and Picasso explored

Lee Miller's portrait of Picasso
Lee Miller's portrait of Picasso
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SHE was to become one of the world’s leading fashion photographers and an acclaimed war correspondent.

He was the Spanish painter who was to be revered as one of the most important artists of the 20th century.

Now a one-off exhibition being staged in Scotland will explore the close friendship between Lee Miller and Pablo Picasso.

The National Galleries of Scotland will be staging it next summer at the same time as its eagerly-awaited celebration of British fashion photographer David Bailey, which will chart 50 years of his glittering career.

Born in 1907, Miller, whose best-known subjects included Fred Astaire, Jean Cocteau and Marlene Dietrich, started her career as a fashion model in New York before embarking on a career behind the lens in Paris, where she sought out and then embarked on a lengthy relationship with the photographer Man Ray.

The pair split in 1932 and Miller returned to New York, where she set up her own studio, before meeting and marrying Egyptian businessman Aziz Eloui Bey in 1934. However she grew disillusioned with life in Cairo and returned to France in 1937, when she met both Picasso and the art collector Roland Penrose, who she married after the war, which she covered for Vogue magazine.

Picture: submitted

Picture: submitted

Christopher Baker, director of the gallery, said: “The meeting between Lee Miller and Picasso was the beginning of a very happy friendship and artistic relationship, sparring backwards and forwards and enjoying each other’s company, that ran on right through the rest of their lives until Picasso died in 1973 and she photographed him more than 1000 times.

“We’re showing 100 of her photographs of Picasso, some of which are quite formal, but others are much more informal and are almost like family photographs. During this period, Picasso also painted her six times and Penrose later wrote that he felt that he had captured perfectly her ebullience, her joy and her beauty.”

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The previously-announced David Bailey exhibition, which will feature more than 250 portraits of musicians, filmmakers, fashion icons and artists, will be at the Scottish National Gallery on The Mound from July-October. The show, which is being personally curated by the 76-year-old, will be expanded on the one which drew huge crowds to the National Portrait Gallery in London last year.

A host of Scotland’s leading female painters and sculptors - including Amelia Hill, Joan Eardley and Anne Redpath - will come under the spotlight later next year in a show which will see well-known masterpieces displayed alongside rarely-seen works.

A year on from the independence referendum, four of Scotland’s leading modern-day photographic talents will be unveiling intimate portraits of Scots which have been captured around the country in the 12 months following the historic poll, including those who became involved in the debate in some way.

Other highlights of the National Galleries programme next year include a major retrospective of the Dutch graphic artist MC Escher and a showcase of work by the little-known 18th century Swiss-French artist Jean Etienne Liotard.

John Leighton, director-general of NGS, said: “We have established an international reputation for the breadth and quality of our exhibitions.

“We have assembled a thrilling array of shows, combining the familiar with the unfamiliar, the classic with the new, to create a programme worthy of any major European capital.”

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