Yesterday we went to the town of Roubaix to La Piscine, an old indoor pool that has been transformed into a museum. They currently have an excellent exhibit called Picasso à l’oeuvre. Dans l’objectif de David Douglas Duncan. David Douglas Duncan is an American war photographer who, through a fortuitous encounter, met Pablo Picasso at Cannes. This meeting allowed Douglas to enter Picasso’s personal sphere and photograph him during his daily life. Duncan photographed Picasso from 1956 to 1973 and captured the master painter both at work and during lighthearted moments with his family. The exhibit not only shows Duncan’s beautiful black and white photos of Picasso, but it also incorporates works of art that are seen in the photos. Some of the notable Picassos on exhibit are Tête de taureau (1942), Baigneurs à La Garoupe (1957) and Jaqueline avec des fleurs (1954). In Duncan’s work, I really loved a series of photos of Picasso dancing with Jacqueline and dancing by himself. There are also contact sheets showing Picasso painting and you can see minor changes on the canvas from frame to frame in the photo. Another thing that I found interesting was that Picasso seemed to like to paint while half dressed. He is topless in many of the photos, which I found humorous. I don’t know much about Picasso’s life, but the photos make him out to be lighthearted and a bon vivant. This exhibit offers a very personal, intimate look into Picasso’s life and is a fascinating documentary about how he worked.
The rest of La Piscine is a small museum centered around the main pool. The pool has been renovated into a fountain with sculpture galleries on either side. There is also a permanent collection and a café.