Femme assise accoudée (Seated Woman Resting on Elbows)

Pablo Picasso (Pablo Ruiz Picasso)

Malaga, Spain, 1881 - Mougins, France, 1973
  • Date: 
    1939 (January 8th)
  • Technique: 
    Oil on canvas
  • Dimensions: 
    92 x 73 cm
  • Category: 
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Femme assise accoudée (Seated Woman Resting on Elbows) is the final portrait of Marie-Thérèse Walter of the group that Pablo Picasso began on the last day of December 1938. The three previous ones had been done, respectively, on the same day (December 31st 1938), January 1st and January 7th 1939. The motif is the same in all the pictures: a seated woman, resting her head on her right hand. The face, too, has been represented in a similar manner in each picture, with the typical displacement of the mouth and nose, inherited from Cubism.
While Picasso worked on these four pictures, colour was beginning to become more important. The first painting is dark and expressionist, the second brighter and more ornamental, and in both the third one and this one, which was done fourth, the most outstanding feature is the vibrant colour. Another peculiarity of Femme assise accoudée is the stark contrast between the way the face is perfectly finished and bears a strong resemblance to the model (deliberate deformations notwithstanding) and the sketchiness of the rest of the figure. Unlike the majority of the female portraits done by Picasso at the time, in the picture that concerns us here there is no sign of any pain or tragedy.

Paloma Esteban Leal