Lydia Corbett / Sylvette David

 

Lydia Corbett, born in Paris, 1934 was famously introduced to Pablo Picasso in the 1950s. This chance encounter was a very important moment for both Picasso and for Lydia, or Sylvette David as she was then known.  For Picasso, Sylvette became the subject of large and important body of work, including more than sixty paintings, drawings and sculptures. For Sylvette, not only was her innocent, youthful beauty immortalized, but she would be remembered as a muse of the great artist – ‘The Girl with the Ponytail’. Picasso’s work and their relationship would become a constant source of inspiration for her own painting many years later.

 

Solo exhibition at David Simon Contemporary March 2019

 

White Still Life
oil on canvas
60 x 75cm

 

 

The Studio

oil and mixed media on panel
80 x 65cm

 

 

The Offering
oil on canvas
92 x 133cm

 

 

Byzantine Lady with Pot

watercolour with ink

50 x 40cm

 

 

Hildegarde in

Idar-Oberstein

watercolour with ink

50 x 40cm

 

 

Wildflowers Music

watercolour with ink

50 x 40cm

 

 

The Red Room with

a View
watercolour and ink on paper
40 x 50cm

 

 

Still Life, Anemones, Provence

watercolour and ink on paper
50 x 40cm

 

 

The Lovers with Pears

watercolour and ink on paper
40 x 50cm

 

The Apple Tree
oil on panel
51 x 36cm

 

 

At Albert House

oil on board
62 x 91cm

 

 

 

Girl in Green

oil on canvas
92 x 61cm

 

 

Sylvette Barefoot

watercolour and ink on paper
50 x 40cm
Sold

 

 

Nudes with Chinese Lanterns

watercolour and ink on paper
50 x 40cm

 

 

Jacob's Ladder

watercolour and ink on paper
50 x 40cm
Sold

 

Naked Girls in Sweet Peas

watercolour and ink on paper
50 x 40cm

 

 

The Creation of Adam
watercolour and ink on paper
50 x 40cm

 

 

Sylvette with Pumpkin

watercolour and ink on paper
50 x 40cm

 

 

Inner Peace

oil, charcoal & gold leaf on panel
62 x 40cm

 

 

Camaret Courtyard
oil on canvas
61 x 46cm

 

 

Bremen Sylvette
oil & charcoal on panel

86 x 66cm

 

 

Delphinium, Camaret Courtyard

watercolour, pen & ink

50 x 40cm

Sold

 

 

 

 

Five Green Pears

watercolour, pen & ink

40 x 50cm

 

Girl by Camaret Vase

watercolour, pen & ink

50 x 40cm

Sold

Harvest Festival

watercolour, pen & ink

50 x 40cm

Sold

 

 

Portrait of a Woman

watercolour, pen & ink

24 x 19cm

Sold

 

 

Blue and White Jug with Lilies

watercolour, pen & ink

50 x 40cm

Sold

 

 

God Created Man & Woman

watercolour, pen & ink

50 x 40cm

Sold

 

Koto Ladies

watercolour, pen & ink

50 x 40cm

 

 

Guardian Angel

watercolour, pen & ink

50 x 40cm

 

 

Nude Still Life

watercolour and ink

50 x 40cm

The Cow Which Jumped Over the Moon

watercolour, pen & ink

50 x 40cm

Sold

 

 

St Francis

watercolour and ink

50 x 40cm

Sold

La Danse de la Vie

oil on canvas

120 x 100cm

Sold

 

Folded Sylvette

oil on canvas

50 x 40cm
Sold

 

Sylvette and Picasso, Young

oil on canvas

80 x 67cm

Sold

Bremen Portrait

watercolour, pen & ink

50 x 40cm

Sold

 

The Thistles in Dance

watercolour, pen & ink

50 x 40cm

 

 

Flowers in my Pot

watercolour, pen & ink

50 x 40cm

Sold

 

 

The Virgins and Cupids My Father Gave Me
watercolour, pen & ink
50 x 40cm

 

 

The Boy and the White Horse
oil on board
50 x 40cm

Sold

 

 

Adam and Eve in Wild Flowers
watercolour, pen & ink
50 x 40cm

Sold

 

Horse of Peace

watercolour and ink

32 x 42cm

Sold

 

 

The Red Dress
watercolour and ink
40 x 50cm

Sold
 

The Crib at Christmas
watercolour, pen & ink
40 x 50cm

Sold

 

Images of Hildegarde of Bingen

watercolour and ink

30 x 23cm

Sold

 

 

Conversation on a Sofa

watercolour and ink

30 x 40cm

Sold

 

 

Japanese Family

watercolour and ink

50 x 40cm

Sold

 

 

Lydia Corbett was born in Paris in 1934 to an influential art dealer based in the Champs Elysees, and his wife, a studio potter. At the age of nineteen Lydia had moved to Vallauris in the south of France with her mother who worked at a pottery studio in the town. It was here that she had a chance encounter with Pablo Picasso nearly sixty years ago, in 1954. Sylvette was chatting with friends while smoking and drinking coffee on one of the terraces of the town’s potteries. Over the wall of the neighbouring studio, Sylvette spotted Picasso holding up one of his pictures. It was a simple image of a young woman with a fringe and a ponytail; it was a portrait of her, executed from memory. One day she knocked on the door of his studio, he was delighted to see her and welcomed her in. ‘I want to paint Sylvette!’, Picasso exclaimed. Sylvette had started to wear her hair in a very unique manner, after her father saw a ballet Greek drama and was enchanted by a woman with a ponytail worn high up on the crown of her head. He told Sylvette that she should wear her hair like this. Sylvette did this and loved it – it was such an unusual look ahead of fashion that lots of people commented upon and it was this feature that caught Picasso’s eye, fascinated by Greek mythology as he was.

‘Picasso was a comic, he liked laughing and joking and behaving like a bit of a clown – a clever one.’ ‘I love to paint figures quickly. He taught me a lot without saying a word’. She would sit for him in an armchair while Picasso painted her in his simple studio, surrounded by many pots. Francoise had left Picasso by this time and he was lost without his wife and two children. He told Sylvette that he found her company as a model of great consolation to him and gave her a portrait of her. She would not accept money to pose, as she realised this would make her obliged to be nude for him. She never posed naked, although he did paint a couple of paintings of her imagined unclothed. Picasso gave Lydia a huge amount of confidence in herself as a painter, although it was not until she was in her forties that she started to paint, once her children had grown.

Corbett moved to England in 1968 where she pursued her own painting career, presenting twelve solo exhibitions in London. In 1991 she exhibited in Japan, and in the United States of America in 2004. In 2014 an exhibition of her watercolours were shown at Theater Bremen, concurrently with a major exhibition of Picasso’s work inspired by her, ‘Sylvette, Sylvette, Sylvette’ held at the Kunsthalle Bremen. These two exhibitions were the subject of a film produced by ARTE broadcast in England and Germany. First exhibition with David Simon Contemporary 2016. Next solo exhibition March 2019.

 

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