US: +1 (707) 877-4321 FR: +33 977-198-888

English Français Deutsch Italiano Español Русский 中国 Português 日本

FAVORITES MY CART

Pablo Picasso's “Les Demoiselles d'Avignon”

FREE Shipping. FREE Returns All the time. See details.

Pablo Picasso's “Les Demoiselles d'Avignon”

With Les Demoiselles d'Avignon, the Spanish painter Pablo Picasso offends the Paris art scene in 1907. Showing his eight-foot-square canvas to a group of painters, patrons, and art critics at his studio, Picasso meets with almost unanimous shock, distaste, and outrage. The painter Matisse is angered by the work, which he considers a hoax, an attempt to paint the fourth dimension. "It was the ugliness of the faces that froze with horror the half-converted," the critic Salmon writes later. The painter Derain comments wryly, "One day we shall find Pablo has hanged himself behind his great canvas."

With Les Demoiselles d'Avignon, the Spanish painter Pablo Picasso offends the Paris art scene in 1907. Showing his eight-foot-square canvas to a group of painters, patrons, and art critics at his studio, Picasso meets with almost unanimous shock, distaste, and outrage. The painter Matisse is angered by the work, which he considers a hoax, an attempt to paint the fourth dimension. "It was the ugliness of the faces that froze with horror the half-converted," the critic Salmon writes later. The painter Derain comments wryly, "One day we shall find Pablo has hanged himself behind his great canvas."

In the months leading up to the painting's creation, Picasso struggles with the subject - five women in a brothel. He creates more than 100 sketches and preliminary paintings, wrestling with the problem of depicting three-dimensional space in a two-dimensional picture plane. The painting is described as a battleground, with the remains of the battle left on the canvas. The Iberian women in the center of the canvas clash with the hideously masked creatures standing and squatting on the right.

In creating Les Demoiselles d'Avignon, Picasso turns his back on middle-class society and the traditional values of the time, opting for the sexual freedom depicted in a brothel. He also rejects popular current movements in painting by choosing line drawing rather than the color- and light-defined forms of Impressionism and the Fauves. The painter's private demons take shape in the figures on the canvas. Picasso later calls Les Demoiselles d'Avignon "my first exorcism painting." He likens the act of painting to that of creating fetishes, or weapons: "If we give spirits a form, we become independent." The originality of Picasso's vision and execution in Les Demoiselles d'Avignon help plant the seeds for cubism, the widely acclaimed and revolutionary art movement that he and painter Georges Braque develop in years to come.

After its initial showing, the painting remains largely unseen for 39 years. It is shown at the Galerie d'Antin in Paris in 1916, then lies rolled up in Picasso's studio until it is bought in the early 1920s by Jacques Doucet, sight unseen. It is reproduced in the publication La Revolution Surrealiste in 1925, but remains relatively unknown until 1937, when it is shown at the Petit Palais in Paris. The Museum of Modern Art in New York buys it soon afterwards, and in later years it becomes a prized part of the collection. 

Documents published recently

History of "The Last Supper" Painting

The Last Supper painting is a masterpiece by the legendary artist Leonardo da Vinci. The actual painting was made on hard plaster, which has been restored several times.


Vienna Exhibition Explores the Female Muses of Klimt, Schiele and Kokoschka

"The Women of Klimt, Schiele and Kokoschka" exhibition explores the numerous and almost obsessive depictions of women painted by Gustav Klimt, Egon Schiele, and Oskar Kokoschka. It opened at the Belvedere Palace & Museum in Vienna and is on view from October 22 to February 28.


5 famous artists rejected during their lifetime.

While many are familiar with the term “starving artist,” this stereotype of impoverished artists struggling to get by has been sadly true throughout much of history. Fine art painters in particular are infamous for leading poverty and grief-stricken lives.


Dorotheum previews modern and contemporary sales, featuring Richter, Zero Group

Whether you’re buying art in the interest of investment, collecting, or interior decorating, minimalist pieces have a rare appeal. Steering away from the figurative work that defined previous periods in art history, post-1945 Italian, German, and Austrian pieces grapple with the metaphysical.


Alberto Giacometti at National Portrait Gallery, London

In his Fifties and Sixties heyday, Alberto Giacometti was seen as a sculptor who did portraits on the side. Nowadays, that position is reversed. The Swiss-born sculptor’s spindly bronze figures, once considered among the defining images of modern art, are barely looked at, while interest in his haunted, hollow-eyed paintings of people is rising all the time.


Van Gogh's "Starry night" creation

“Starry Night” by Vincent van Gogh has risen to the peak of artistic achievements, it is one of the most well-known images in modern culture. Van Gogh painted “Starry Night” while in the Saint-Paul-de-Mausole asylum near Saint-Rémy-de-Provence at the age of 36. In one of letters to his brother Theo, he wrote "This morning I saw the country from my window a long time before sunrise, with nothing but the morning star, which looked very big."


The most romantic painting ever?

Nowadays, Gustav Klimt’s “The Kiss” stands among the most romantic artworks ever painted in the world. However, it hasn’t always been so.