Pablo Picasso. Les Demoiselles d'Avignon. Paris, June-July 1907

Pablo Picasso Les Demoiselles d'Avignon Paris, June-July 1907

Floor 5, Collection Galleries

Les Demoiselles d’Avignon marks a radical break from traditional composition and perspective in painting. It depicts five naked women with figures composed of flat, splintered planes and faces inspired by Iberian sculpture and African masks. The compressed space the figures inhabit appears to project forward in jagged shards; a fiercely pointed slice of melon in the still life of fruit at the bottom of the composition teeters on an impossibly upturned tabletop. These strategies would be significant in Picasso’s subsequent development of Cubism, charted in this gallery with a selection of the increasingly fragmented compositions he created in this period.

Picasso unveiled the monumental painting in his Paris studio after months of revision. The Avignon of the work’s title is a reference to a street in Barcelona famed for its brothel. In Picasso’s preparatory studies for the work, the figure at the left was a man, but the artist eliminated this anecdotal detail in the final painting.

Gallery label from 2013
Medium
Oil on canvas
Dimensions
8' x 7' 8" (243.9 x 233.7 cm)
Credit
Acquired through the Lillie P. Bliss Bequest (by exchange)
Object number
333.1939
Copyright
© 2018 Estate of Pablo Picasso / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
Department
Painting and Sculpture