Pablo Picasso Three Women at the Spring Fontainebleau, summer 1921

  • MoMA, Floor 5, 513 The David Geffen Wing

This oil painting represents the culmination of Picasso’s many variations on the theme of three women at the spring, carried out in different forms and arrangements that summer. The artist likely executed this work after the large red chalk version on the opposite wall. Its representation of chiton-clad women gathered around a water source quotes motifs traditionally depicted in Greco-Roman antiquity and French academic painting. However, Picasso’s version disrupts these classical models with stiffly disjointed bodies, mannequin-like heads, and masklike faces. Note also the curious lack of water in this scene: the central figure holds her hand out beneath the spring, yet, contrary to expectation, nothing runs over her outstretched palm.

Gallery label from Picasso in Fontainebleau, October 8, 2023–February 17, 2024
Oil on canvas
6' 8 1/4" x 68 1/2" (203.9 x 174 cm)
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Allan D. Emil
Object number
© 2024 Estate of Pablo Picasso / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
Painting and Sculpture

Installation views

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Provenance Research Project

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The artist

1922 John Quinn, New York ( Acquired from the artist)

1924 Estate of John Quinn

1926 Paul Rosenberg, Paris (Purchased at the John Quinn estate sale, 9 Jan 1926)

1926 Mary Callery, Paris and New York

Allan D. Emil, New York (per Picasso, Gris, Miro, The Spanish Masters of Twentieth Century Painting, SF Museum of Art, Sept 14 – Oct 17, 1948, and Portland Art Museum, Oct 26 – Nov 28, 1948, cat. no. 8)

1952 The Museum of Modern Art, New York (Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Allan D. Emil)

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