Lee Miller and Picasso

The relationship between Lee Miller and Pablo Picasso is told through a display of the portraits they created of one another.

By the time Lee Miller met Picasso in 1937 she had already graced the pages of Vogue as a fashion model, become muse and pupil to Man Ray in Paris and decamped to Cairo following her marriage to an Egyptian industrialist. Their first meeting took place at the Hôtel Vaste Horizon, where Picasso was staying with Dora Maar. Miller arrived with her second husband – the artist and collection Roland Penrose – amid a throng of eminent surrealists.

The picture she shot of Picasso in the grounds of the hotel marks her burgeoning career as a photojournalist. Picasso’s piercing, almost accusatory gaze stares the camera down, evoking the full force of his intense charisma even in an unguarded moment amongst friends. It is one of over 1,000 shots she took of the artist, and he painted her six times in turn. 

Following the establishment of the couple’s dairy farm in East Sussex, Picasso was also a frequent guest of Penrose and Miller. Their professional relationship extended to an exhibition of his works at the ICA – organised by Penrose – and another show celebrating the artist’s 75th birthday, which featured Miller’s portraits.

The Scottish National Gallery celebrates this enduring friendship with 100 photographs from Miller’s archive, as well as a two works by Picasso.


Venue details

Scottish National Portrait Gallery 1 Queen Street Edinburgh EH2 1JD 0131 624 6200 www.nationalgalleries.org

Entry details

£4.50 with National Art Pass (standard entry £9)

Daily, 10am – 5pm (Thu until 7pm)

Closed 25 – 26 Dec