Reading at a Table

Artist: Pablo Picasso (Spanish, Malaga 1881–1973 Mougins, France)

Date: 1934

Medium: Oil on canvas

Dimensions: 63 7/8 x 51 3/8 in. (162.2 x 130.5 cm)

Classification: Paintings

Credit Line: Bequest of Florene M. Schoenborn, in honor of William S. Lieberman, 1995

Accession Number: 1996.403.1

Rights and Reproduction: © 2017 Estate of Pablo Picasso / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York


In this painting of his lover Marie-Thérèse Walter reading a book, Picasso returns to a favored subject: a woman seated alone. The darkened room and glow from the lamp give her an ethereal presence, while her alabaster skin, blonde hair, and floral crown enhance her youth. Though she featured prominently in Picasso’s work at the time, their relationship was the least public of Picasso’s many amatory alliances, a fact that imbues this painting with a sense of tender intimacy. The canvas, one of several similar compositions Picasso painted of his mistress, is a poem by a man in love.