Pablo Picasso
74


Sylvette David

Sylvette David, known as The Girl with a Ponytail, Picasso’s 50s muse was embodied in more than 40 paintings, drawings and sculptures.

In October 1954, during the exhibition of Picasso’s works in Paris, Mary Dunbar wrote in Sunday Times: “About 20 different pictures which he painted last spring of a 19-year-old girl in Vallauris are shown. Her long, fair hair, tied back in a 'horse's tail' is a predominant feature in all of them and already I saw many girls”. Brigitte Bardot adopted the same hairstyle, presumably after seeing the coverage of Sylvette in Paris Match.

Sylvette was born on November 14, 1934 in Boulogne-sur-Mer. Her father studied art and had a gallery in Paris, so the girl was brought up in a bohemian environment of artists and people close to the art world. During the war, she and her mother lived in the naturist community on the Isle du Levant. In 1954, she lived in Vallauris with her mother and her fiancé, the English sculptor and designer Toby Jellinek. “ We met Picasso at an exhibition and he bought one of Toby's chairs, which we delivered to his studio the next day. When we arrived he showed me my portrait painted with charcoal and asked me to pose”, recalls Sylvette. “ My father said I should wear my hair like a ballet dancer he'd seen, swept up behind into a high ponytail. Picasso was charmed when first he saw it: as some of his pictures suggest, he looked upon it as a sort of helmet, like those of ancient times”.

As a result of such cooperation, Picasso drew around 40 images of her, a number of which starred in his Paris exhibition that year. May 5, 1954 Sylvette woke up famous; people on the streets of Vallauris began asking her for autographs. Sylvette's inheritance from the experience included a painting, which was sold to pay for Toby's treatment. In 1970 she got married the second time and took her husband’s surname Corbett; she used a different first name, too - Lydia. She has three children: Isabelle, Alice and Lawrence, and seven grandchildren, all of whom live with her in western France. She is a rather successful artist and her works are exhibited in Britain, France and other countries.


Photos

Picasso and Sylvette David
1954
Picasso and Sylvette David
1954
With Sylvette David in Madoura studio
1954
With Sylvette David
1954

Paintings

Pablo Picasso. Portrait of Sylvette, 1954
Portrait of Sylvette, 1954
Pablo Picasso. Portrait of Sylvette David 24 green armchair, 1954
Portrait of Sylvette David 24 green armchair, 1954
Pablo Picasso. Portrait of Sylvette David 25 on red, 1954
Portrait of Sylvette David 25 on red, 1954
Pablo Picasso. Portrait of Sylvette David 26, 1954
Portrait of Sylvette David 26, 1954
Pablo Picasso. Portrait of Sylvette David 05, 1954
Portrait of Sylvette David 05, 1954
Pablo Picasso. Portrait of Sylvette David 28, 1954
Portrait of Sylvette David 28, 1954

Graphics

Pablo Picasso. Portrait of Sylvette David 21, 1954
Portrait of Sylvette David 21, 1954
Pablo Picasso. Portrait of Sylvette David 02, 1954
Portrait of Sylvette David 02, 1954
Pablo Picasso. Portrait of Sylvette David 23, 1954
Portrait of Sylvette David 23, 1954
Pablo Picasso. Portrait of Sylvette David 27, 1954
Portrait of Sylvette David 27, 1954
Pablo Picasso. Portrait of Sylvette David 20, 1954
Portrait of Sylvette David 20, 1954
Pablo Picasso. Portrait of Sylvette David 22, 1954
Portrait of Sylvette David 22, 1954
Pablo Picasso. Portrait of Sylvette David 18, 1954
Portrait of Sylvette David 18, 1954
Pablo Picasso. Portrait of Sylvette David 01, 1954
Portrait of Sylvette David 01, 1954
Pablo Picasso. Portrait of Sylvette David 04, 1954
Portrait of Sylvette David 04, 1954
Pablo Picasso. Portrait of Sylvette David 06, 1954
Portrait of Sylvette David 06, 1954
Pablo Picasso. Portrait of Sylvette David 19, 1954
Portrait of Sylvette David 19, 1954
Pablo Picasso. Portrait of Sylvette David 12, 1954
Portrait of Sylvette David 12, 1954
Pablo Picasso. Portrait of Sylvette David 11, 1954
Portrait of Sylvette David 11, 1954
Pablo Picasso. Portrait of Sylvette David 17, 1954
Portrait of Sylvette David 17, 1954
Pablo Picasso. Portrait of Sylvette David 14, 1954
Portrait of Sylvette David 14, 1954
Pablo Picasso. Portrait of Sylvette David 15, 1954
Portrait of Sylvette David 15, 1954
Pablo Picasso. Portrait of Sylvette David 03, 1954
Portrait of Sylvette David 03, 1954
Pablo Picasso. Portrait of Sylvette David 08, 1954
Portrait of Sylvette David 08, 1954
Pablo Picasso. Portrait of Sylvette David 07, 1954
Portrait of Sylvette David 07, 1954
Pablo Picasso. Portrait of Sylvette David 10, 1954
Portrait of Sylvette David 10, 1954
Pablo Picasso. Portrait of Sylvette David 29, 1954
Portrait of Sylvette David 29, 1954
Pablo Picasso. Portrait of Sylvette David 09, 1954
Portrait of Sylvette David 09, 1954
Pablo Picasso. Portrait of Sylvette David 31 to the striped gown, 1954
Portrait of Sylvette David 31 to the striped gown, 1954
Pablo Picasso. Portrait of Sylvette David 16, 1954
Portrait of Sylvette David 16, 1954
Pablo Picasso. Portrait of Sylvette David 30, 1954
Portrait of Sylvette David 30, 1954
Pablo Picasso. Portrait of Sylvette David 13, 1954
Portrait of Sylvette David 13, 1954
Pablo Picasso. Sylvette in chair, 1954
Sylvette in chair, 1954