The bathers at the GAROUPE. Pablo Picasso
In the 1950s, Picasso goes to the beach of La Garoupe, in Antibes, with his children, he sees the bathers who walk, play, run before plunging into the sea, and whose shadow is cut out in the violent light of midday. The shadow counts for Picasso.
In 1953, he painted himself, from back, entering a room, his shadow projected on the body of a sleeper. In 1955, during the filming of the mystery Picasso, he amused himself with models and spotlights and sees the whole party that he can draw lighting to bring forth new forms. In 1956, he made silhouettes with pieces of scrap wood, found on the beach or elsewhere. Typical characters, not individuals: the enthusiastic sportsman who spreads his arms or the shy who serves his hands in front of his underwear… They're the bathers of the Garoupe. Sculptures.
The story of the wooden version and the painted version of the bathers at the Garoupe tells the method of Picasso. It all starts with a DIY, the use of what is under the hand of the artist to enslave it to what he sees. In September 1956, shortly after finishing his wooden bathers, Picasso executed a drawing. He perched two characters on a kiosk that looks like a diving board, two others on a kind of dais. He resumed this composition during the summer of 57, in the Villa of California, under the eye of photographer David Douglas Duncan whose photographs follow the realization of this painting on a seabed background.
Drawings, large canvas and bronze sculptures of different sizes in a style called "nameplate" and invented around 1948-49. It is a way of affirming in 1956 that he still has all the modes of expression that he has explored for a long time.