Femme dans un fauteuil (métamorphose)
Date 1929
Medium Oil on canvas
Dimensions 91.5 x 72.5 cm
Inventory ID UID 102-446
The Berardo collection includes two works by Pablo Picasso: Tête de femme [Woman’s Head], from 1909, created in the wake of the discovery of a new painting method begun in Les Demoiselles d’Avignon, and Femme dans un fauteuil [Woman in an Armchair], which corresponds to a key moment in Picasso’s work. From 1925 on he was influenced by Surrealist poets, a group that lasted into the mid-1930s. Yet he remained more pragmatic than the Surrealists, with their ambition of the ‘dream traced onto canvas’. The woman in a red armchair, painted at the beginning of 1929, is a kind of synthesis of the violent paintings of the preceding years and the initial teachings of cubism with a new style found in the 1930s. The figure has a pyramidal form, with the eyes dilated, like most of the feminine depictions from this phase. Some have considered this aggressive depiction of the woman traceable to his matrimonial difficulties with Olga Kokhlova. He exhibited the painting, which Georges Bataille found enthralling, at an exhibition of works from his different periods at the Georges Petit gallery in June 1932. But it was in the United States that the painting truly gained stature. It appeared in a prominent place in the retrospective dedicated to the artist and organized by Alfred H. Barr Jr, the first director of the Museum of Modern Art in New York: Forty Years of his Art (1939). J-FC