“In residence”: works of Picasso that are visiting us, Mademoiselle Léonie and Two Women in Front of a Window

This February, the work from the Museum of Fine Arts of Houston Two women in front of a window, painted by Pablo Picasso in 1927, can be visited in the gallery B2 of the museum until the 3rd June.

Two women in front of a window

Pablo Picasso,1881-1973. Two Women in Front of a Window. Oil on canvas. Canvas or panel: 397.8×130.8 cm. Frame: 101,6×135.3×5,1 cm. The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; Gif of Mr. and Mrs. Theodore N. Law

In this painting, Picasso sets the highly geometric figure of a woman against the outlines of several rounded profiles. The angular fragmentation of the woman on the left recalls the planar divisions of Picasso’s paintings from the preceding two decades, whilst the flowing style of the part on the right reflects the artist’s interests when he was working on the scenery and costumes for the ballet Mercure; the idea of detaching form from colour leads him to reduce the figures to lines of rhythmic arabesques. This piece coincides with his reunion with sculptor Julio González, with whom he tried out the representations of lines in space that led him to create his wire sculptures.

Also until the 12th May we will be able to enjoy the work from Fundación Mapfre of Madrid Mademoiselle Léonie (Étude), painted by the artist in 1910.

Mademoiselle Léonie (Study)

Pablo Picasso: Mademoiselle Léonie (Etude), 1910. Crayon and ink on paper – 64,3 x 49,5 cm. ©Sucesión Picasso. VEGAP, Madrid 2012. Colección FUNDACIÓN MAPFRE

This work is a study for Picasso’s illustrations of Max Jacob’s prose poem Saint Matorel. The collaboration between Picasso and Jacob was orchestrated by art dealer Daniel-Henri Kahnweiler, and resulted in four illustrative prints by Picasso to accompany Jacob’s text. Two of the images feature the protagonist’s love interest, a young girl named Léonie, in different poses: one seated and one standing. In this drawing, Picasso concentrates on the head, neck and shoulders of the standing Léonie, which are subsequently echoed in the book’s illustration.

Despite the meticulous detail of Mademoiselle Léonie (Étude), especially that of the figure’s face, Picasso’s final version for Saint Matorel offers a more simplified composition. This disparity suggests that Picasso was not only concerned with the illustrations themselves, but also with how the media of ink and pencil could further his Cubist objective – to redefine perception. By using the delicacy of the drawing’s lines to facilitate the breakdown between object and surroundings, Picasso’s Mademoiselle Léonie (Étude) offers a pared-down exploration of spatial fragmentation and the reconstruction of perspective.

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Related links
Changes in the Collection of the Museu Picasso


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