Updated: Mar 25, 2020
In 1915 Picasso labelled the painting on the left A Seated Man. No doubt he had an extraordinary vision. So why can’t he see what we see? Not seated at all, but a shamus walking a lonely street in a snap-brim, hunched in a raincoat with his collar turned up. And surely that's a holster he's wearing under his arm? Well, isn’t it? In any case, why take anything from Picasso at face value? As for instance his much later Portrait of Dora Maar (it’s from 1937). Painted by the visual game-changer in chief of the 20th century, it was on the cover of Selby & Friends’ recent concert program here in Canberra. If you want to believe this Picasso portrait, his mistress and muse of that year was a woman at ease and content with her surroundings, not to say serene. In fact she was a deeply unsettled woman in a tortured relationship with a man who had a predilection for torturing his women. She was also an artist in her own right - whose self-portraits, by contrast with this one, tend to show her anguished to the point of tears. Good concert though. The trio was Katherine Selby (piano), Susie Park (violin) and Julian Smiles (cello) with their own game changers - Britten, Ravel and best of all, Dvorak.