The 1940s Sixteen Year Old Orphan Painter Who Inspired Picasso Is Displayed In New York | Alternative Fruit
When the teenage Algerian orphan Fatma Haddad was saved from a life of estrangement in the suburbs of Algiers by the French scholar Marguerite Camina Benhoura, the young and talented local showed great artistic potential. Fatma decided to change her working name to Baya Mahieddine and with her new guardian she moved to France. It was from here that Baya's talents were allowed to truly flourish.
A celebration of the artist's work is now on display at the New York University Grey Gallery. Baya Mahieddine (1931-1988) is responsible for bringing a brand new iconography to the world of surreal and abstract art. Her untutored hand brought to life a multiplicity of form and style. Perhaps most noted for only depicting women, the menless universe of colour and emotion give us insight into the psyche that governs a sense of self in the world.
During her stay in France, under the care of Marguerite, Baya's artworks attracted the attention of a famous art dealer. In 1947, Aimé Maeght decided to exhibit the paintings at the renowned Exposition Internationale du Surréalisme at the Galerie Maeght in the French capital. From here the work was identified by the likes of Matisse and Picasso. The playful and buoyant images took a childlike quality within adult and complex dramatics.
Pablo Picasso's famous The Women of Algiers series of paintings was directly influenced by the work of Baya Mahieddine. This collection of inspirational and foundation-building work is now on display once again for yet another round of influence and inspiration. Named “Baya: Woman of Algiers”, the full display can be visited until March 31st.
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