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Pablo Picasso (1881-1973), preparatory study for Les Demoiselles d’Avignon
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THIS STUDY BY Picasso in bodycolour and watercolour was one of many leading up to his famous painting, Les Demoiselles d’Avignon (Museum of Modern Art, New York). Les Demoiselles d’Avignon was the most difficult and revolutionary work of Picasso’s career, and it profoundly disconcerted even his supporters when first exhibited in 1916.

The composition as a whole was conceived as a brothel scene with the more explicit title of Le Bordel d'Avignon provided by the artist himself, referring to a street in Barcelona. Originally it contained both male and female figures but in the form in which Picasso left the painting in the summer of 1907 there were just five women. This drawing relates to the second figure from the left. The simplified oval of the head, particularly in the study on the right of the sheet, reflects the influence of ancient Iberian sculpture which Picasso saw at the Louvre from the spring of 1906 onwards.

Pablo Picasso (1881-1973), preparatory study for Les Demoiselles d’Avignon


c. AD 1906-7
Ht 62.6 cm
Acquired with the assistance of the Art Fund



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