Pablo Picasso (Spanish, 1881–1973)
Oil on canvas
32 x 25 3/4 in. (81.3 x 65.4 cm)
The Mr. and Mrs. Klaus G. Perls Collection, 1997 (1997.149.7)
© 2011 Estate of Pablo Picasso / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
During the summer of 1909, when Picasso was in Horta de Ebro, Spain, he painted and sculpted a number of Cubist portraits of his lover Fernande Olivier. After returning to Paris later that year, his figures of women became more generalized, without identifiable facial features. This composition of a woman seated in a room reflects his ongoing experiments with integrating the human figure into its surroundings, a process that eventually resulted in the radical dissolution of all forms into commingling lines and planes. In this interim stage of development, however, the architecture of the room still retains its solid form as he depicts the walls, moldings, and open door, while the curves and arabesques of the woman's body have already begun to merge with the patterned drapery at right. It has been suggested that Picasso based this composition on Cézanne's portrait of his wife, Mme Cézanne in a Red Dress(188890; now in the Metropolitan Museum's collection, 62.45).