Collection 1880s–1940s


Around Les Demoiselles d’Avignon

Fall 2019-Fall 2021


Pablo Picasso. Les Demoiselles d’Avignon. 1907. Oil on canvas, 8' × 7' 8" (243.9 × 233.7 cm). Acquired through the Lillie P. Bliss Bequest (by exchange). © 2019 Estate of Pablo Picasso/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
  • MoMA, Floor 5, 503 The Alfred H. Barr, Jr. Galleries

Painted when Pablo Picasso was 25 years old, the monumental canvas Les Demoiselles d’Avignon seems to have had no lesser goal than the complete reinvention of Western painting. In a composition that appears to be working itself out before our eyes, Picasso jettisoned idealized notions of beauty, banished conventions of perspective, and introduced forms inspired by African and Iberian art. The title, which alludes to the prostitutes of Barcelona’s red-light district, fuels the painting’s continued ability to shock.

Demoiselles has been traditionally presented as the beginning of Cubism—the art of splintered forms and shifting vantage points that revolutionized pictorial language in the years prior to World War I. But this work may also be understood in other ways and other contexts. Here, a sculpture by Louise Bourgeois and a painting by Faith Ringgold, both made decades later, enter into dialogue with Picasso’s psychologically charged scene, intensifying the questions that Demoiselles raises about representations of women, power, and cultural difference.

Organized by Anne Umland, The Blanchette Hooker Rockefeller Senior Curator, with Jennifer Harris, Curatorial Assistant, Department of Painting and Sculpture.

15 works online


Installation images

How we identified these works

In 2018–19, MoMA collaborated with Google Arts & Culture Lab on a project using machine learning to identify artworks in installation photos. That project has concluded, and works are now being identified by MoMA staff.

If you notice an error, please contact us at [email protected].


If you would like to reproduce an image of a work of art in MoMA’s collection, or an image of a MoMA publication or archival material (including installation views, checklists, and press releases), please contact Art Resource (publication in North America) or Scala Archives (publication in all other geographic locations).

MoMA licenses archival audio and select out of copyright film clips from our film collection. At this time, MoMA produced video cannot be licensed by MoMA/Scala. All requests to license archival audio or out of copyright film clips should be addressed to Scala Archives at [email protected]. Motion picture film stills cannot be licensed by MoMA/Scala. For access to motion picture film stills for research purposes, please contact the Film Study Center at [email protected]. For more information about film loans and our Circulating Film and Video Library, please visit

If you would like to reproduce text from a MoMA publication, please email [email protected]. If you would like to publish text from MoMA’s archival materials, please fill out this permission form and send to [email protected].


This record is a work in progress. If you have additional information or spotted an error, please send feedback to [email protected].