«Seated Woman» by Pablo Picasso

«Seated Woman» by Pablo Picasso

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«Seated Woman» by Pablo Picasso
«Seated Woman» by Pablo Picasso

Under the heading «Why is it a Masterpiece» editorial asks experts to explain, why this or that work has been recognized. On June 22, at an auction in London, the painting was sold for $63,4 million. Remliel explains how «Seated Woman» became the most expensive work in the style of Cubism.

Gleb Simonov

Gleb Simonov

Poet, photographer. Born in Moscow, he lives and works in New York.


Line

Line – quite amusing thing: it connects and disconnects at the same time.

In the early works of Picasso, in the «blue» (but even more – in the «pink» period) is very noticeable that the figure and all its surroundings as if composed of the same material. The «blue» period – from the shadows in the «pink» – out of the haze. Line only delineates the border: shared that inside the body and outside. By the «pink» period of Picasso’s world has consisted of loops. It has been fully harmonized.

Then the line changed. After «Les Demoiselles d’Avignon» by Picasso portrayed the world of the first major, and then more and more smaller fragments. Ten years later, he returned to the line, but it was already a line, which has undergone fragmentation.

«Seated Woman» – a picture of the middle pieces.

«Boy Leading a Horse», 1906
«Boy Leading a Horse», 1906

Canvas

The painting depicts a woman in a white dress. She sat with downcast eyes, slightly bowed head. Her little face contrasts with the large figure. On the side, apparently, a vase of flowers. Possibly, window.

The canvas is made in alternating orange and green tones, enclosed in small separated from each other acute forms. As if the artist walked around the model and portrayed every unevenness of her body not from one, but from several angles. She is flat, and bulk. Between the clavicle, a piece of dress, the wall and a vase there is no formal link, no message, they are isolated and closed. They are connected by only the fact that they were close, joint to joint, in one place, at one time. All this comes together, not because it is the default together: by default, these are divided. This is going in the brain, we, looking, and know that it is a woman, and that her eyes were closed.

Details

Woman sitting with downcast eyes, slightly bowed head

1. Woman sitting with downcast eyes, slightly bowed head

Quiet little face on the background of large pieces

2. Quiet little face on the background of large pieces

The canvas is made in alternating orange and green colors, which create a series of sharp separated from each other forms

3. The canvas is made in alternating orange and green colors, which create a series of sharp separated from each other forms

Putting the individual parts in the brain together, the viewer realizes that the woman in front of him

4. Putting the individual parts in the brain together, the viewer realizes that the woman in front of him

History

The most expensive painting in the style of Cubism

June 22 house Sotheby’s auction in London “Seated Woman” was sold for a record $ 63.4 million. The painting became the most expensive work in the style of cubism, which is ever put up for auction.

The work belongs to the short period of 1909, when Picasso returned to Spain and spent the summer in a small remote village of Horta de Erbo in the south of Catalonia. With him went Fernande Olivier – known model in Paris and friend of Picasso. «Seated Woman» – its portrait. More precisely, one of her portraits – Picasso painted them more than 60.

In 1909 Picasso was a little less than 30 years, and he did not know until the end, that he actually does. Cubism existed, but was rather uncertain. While Picasso lived in Catalonia, he continually corresponded with his friend Georges Braque, who at that time lived in a village in France. They were both looking for new forms, new ways of image and constantly exchanged ideas.

Braque painted landscapes, Picasso – landscapes and Fernande. By comparing the pattern of the summer, it’s hard not to notice that the landscapes and portraits were written in a similar way: the alternation of forms in the portrait is synonymous interlace roofs. This is very different from how Picasso depicted the face and figure earlier: if it consisted mostly of truncated circles, now forms become angular, with rare arches. Quite at home in Horta de Erbo.

In September Picasso and Fernande returned to Paris, where the artist was waiting for his first real success. A year later, a new period began, the picture became more flat and fragmented, and the distance between the image and the object has become almost irresistible. Instead sculptural shapes abutting composition began to gather from open interpenetrating angles and lengths.

A year later Picasso and Fernande left.

«Houses on the hill (Horta de Ebro)», 1909
«Houses on the hill (Horta de Ebro)», 1909

Time

Not all the paintings remain in history thanks to the special significance and breadth of expression. Some are due to piercing triviality, illustrating the important ideas of the author at some point in his life. This work, a dotted line extending through all of the artist’s work. They linger long in the shade, paving the way for a monumental things. Their time comes later, if comes.

Now almost all the really good work by Picasso settled in museum collections, and only a small portion remains in private collections. Among them are «Seated Woman», kept by the previous owner since 1974. 40 years later, she was again put up for auction in London.

For 40 years the world has changed: arose computers, wiped out smallpox, the Soviet Union collapsed, arose the European Union, arose the Internet, skyscrapers collapsed, dozens of wars began and ended. In the homeland of Picasso fell Franco regime, established a constitutional monarchy.

The village, which spent the summer Picasso and Fernande, now called the Horta de Sant Joan. The colors of her still – orange and green.

«Three Graces», 1925
«Three Graces», 1925