Pablo Picasso. "Ma Jolie". Paris, winter 1911-12

Pablo Picasso "Ma Jolie" Paris, winter 1911-12

Floor 5, Collection Galleries

Ma jolie (My pretty girl) was the refrain of a popular song performed at a Parisian music hall Picasso frequented. The artist suggests this musical association by situating a treble clef and music staff near the bold, stenciled letters. Ma jolie was also Picasso's nickname for his lover Marcelle Humbert, whose figure he loosely built using the signature shifting planes of Analytic Cubism. This is far from a traditional portrait of an artist's beloved, but there are clues to its representational content. The central triangular mass subtly indicates the shape of a woman's head and torso, and a group of six vertical lines at the painting's lower center represent the strings of a guitar, which the woman strums. In Cubist works of this period, Picasso and Georges Braque employed multiple modes of representation simultaneously: here, Picasso combined language (in the black lettering), symbolic meaning (in the treble clef), and near abstraction (in the depiction of his subject).

Gallery label from 2011
Medium
Oil on canvas
Dimensions
39 3/8 x 25 3/4" (100 x 64.5 cm)
Credit
Acquired through the Lillie P. Bliss Bequest (by exchange)
Object number
176.1945
Copyright
© 2018 Estate of Pablo Picasso / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
Department
Painting and Sculpture