The Girl with the Ponytail – Lydia Corbett / Sylvette David

Sunday November 4th – Saturday November 24th 2012

Recent oils and watercolours by Picasso’s famous muse.

Picasso’s famous muse and the inspiration for Bridget Bardot’s iconic hairstyle, “the Girl with a Ponytail”, was born in Paris, Sylvette David. Her creative pedigree made a life suffused in artistic expression inevitable. Her French father was an influential art dealer and painter, and her English mother was an award winning art student at the Academie Julian.

A bohemian childhood was spent between Provence and a small island off the cote D’ azure before Sylvette was sent to England to complete her education in Suffolk.

Then in 1954, when she was 19 years old and staying in Vallauris she met Picasso by a chance encounter.

Picasso was mesmerised by her beauty and innocence, so Sylvette became the inspiration and model for over 40 paintings and drawings as well as many ceramic and metal sculptures.

Picasso Young, Sylvette YoungPicasso Young, Sylvette YoungThe works created from these sittings were done in various styles – sometimes colour, other times she is drawn; in certain portraits she appears realistic, in others geometric, abstract, tending towards cubism, as Picasso explores his appreciation of her beauty.

The series of paintings became so well known, that they influenced women’s fashion. Bridget Bardot, adopted the look after seeing the coverage of Sylvette in the press. She wrote in her autobiography that she’d asked Picasso to paint her, but he declined saying that he’d already painted Sylvette David and they looked so alike there was no point !

The paintings popularised the style for women throughout the 50’s causing Picasso to comment, “so you see: art is stranger than life.”

Sylvette’s influence on the world of art was not to be limited to her role as Picasso’s muse, however. As she influenced the great man, so in turn he has influenced her. She started drawing to wile away the time during sittings, and later on in the late 60’s, after moving to England and changing her name to Lydia Corbett, she put all her creative energy to painting.

Exhibitions followed in London, Europe and the Far East. The influential Anthony Petullo Foundation in the USA acquired a collection of her watercolours and when the Tate Gallery staged an exhibition of Picasso’s paintings and sculptures a documentary film on Lydia and her memento and friend was shown on the BBC in 1993.

In this latest exhibition of oils and watercolours’ we have a clear sense that Lydia is revisiting the happy period in Vallauris, like a wistful undercurrent running through the paintings. We identify and see that young girl again, often wearing her ponytail or with her blond hair flowing. Sometimes she is looking straight at us, or appearing with other figures and mementoes from that time. “Her assured and gentle approach to the human figure”, as one art critic put it, recalls the work of Marc Chagall.

Lydia Corbett is very much an international artist. She remains an icon of wonder and beauty and will be attending the Opening at this her third Solo exhibition at the Fosse Gallery.

Fosse Gallery Fine Art

The Manor House, The Square, Stow=on=the-Wold, Cheltenham GL54 1AF

Telephone 01451 831319

Source:Fosse Gallery Fine Art