Anne Umland:: With Little Girl Jumping Rope, Picasso came close to accomplishing the impossible. He managed to make a sculpture that almost doesn’t touch the ground and that defies gravity.
To make this sculpture, Picasso began by asking an iron monger in the Southern French town of Vallauris to create a rectangular base for him and to attach to that a curved piece of iron tubbing that rose to a height of 3 or 4 feet and that was in the shape that a jump rope would make when it touched the ground. And all of the other major components of this sculpture are attached to that single piece of curving iron tubing.
When you look at Little Girl Jumping Rope you can see that she is, like many of Picasso’s other early 1950s assemblages, comprised from a wonderful array of found or foraged or scavenged objects. His partner at the time, Francoise Gilot, recalled that on his daily walks to the studio, he would often stop to go through the towns dump heaps or even would rummage through trash bins looking for materials to include in his works. And so among his finds that made it into Little Girl Jumping Rope, you can see, for instance, that her torso is comprised of a basket and her face is made from a discarded, oval-shaped chocolate box.
Although Little Girl Jumping Rope is not a portrait in any sense of the word, it is a wonderful reminder that in 1950, the year Picasso began making this work, he was once again a new father, his young daughter Paloma was born in 1949.