Archival Labels
Woman in a Chemise in an Armchair
Pablo Picasso
Paris, late 1913–early 1914
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Venice 1950

The twenty-fifth Venice Biennale (June 8 to October 15, 1950) was the second held after World War II. As always, objects of national pride for each country were placed on display. The British pavilion presented paintings and sketches by John Constable (1776–1837), as well as work by living artists Barbara Hepworth (1903–1975) and Matthew Smith (1879–1959), while the Mexican pavilion showcased selections by Jose Clemente Orozco (1883–1949), Diego Rivera (1886–1957), David Alfaro Siquieros (1896–1974), and Rufino Tamayo (1899–1991). The Italians organized two major historical retrospectives, one devoted to Futurism and the other to the Quattro maestri del Cubismo (Four Masters of Cubism). 

A pink label adhered to the back of Picasso’s Woman in a Chemise in an Armchair (1913–14) documents its inclusion in this Biennale. It was among thirty-nine works by Braque, Gris, Léger, and Picasso that were selected by a team of prominent European artists, critics, collectors, and dealers, consisting of Carlo Carrà (1881–1966), Jean Cassou (1897–1986), Douglas Cooper (1911–1984), Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler (1884–1979), Maurice Raynal (1884–1954), and Lamberto Vitali (1896–1992). In the introductory essay to the exhibition catalogue, Cooper, a British collector and art historian, emphasized Cubism’s role in inventing a new artistic language. The three paintings he loaned to the exhibition are now in the Leonard A. Lauder Cubist Collection: Braque’s Still Life with Metronome (Still Life with Mandola and Metronome) (1909) and Gris’s Houses in Paris, Place Ravignan (1911 or 1912) and Head of a Woman (Portrait of the Artist’s Mother) (1912). Two additional paintings now in Mr. Lauder’s collection were also included: Picasso’s Woman in a Chemise in an Armchair (1913–14; loaned by Dr. Ingeborg Eichmann, 1907–1980) and The Oil Mill (1909; loaned by Roger Dutilleul, 1873–1956). The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Man with a Hat and a Violin (1912; 1999.363.64) by Picasso was also displayed in Four Masters of Cubism; it was loaned by the British Surrealist painter and poet Roland Penrose (1900–1984).

For more information, see:

Cooper, Douglas. “Sala V: Quattro maestri del Cubismo.” In XXV Biennale di Venezia: Catalogo, pp. 51–56. Exh. cat. Venice: Alfieri Editore, 1950.

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