Among Picasso’s most celebrated likenesses of his lover Marie-Thérèse Walter, Woman with a Book balances sensuality and restraint, enclosing exuberant, thickly applied color in a network of sinuous black lines. The composition pays homage to the Neoclassical master of line, Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres, whose work Picasso had admired since his youth, and whose Portrait of Madame Moitessier the Spanish painter had first encountered in 1921. Resting his model’s head on her hand, and replacing Madame Moitessier’s fan with the fluttering pages of a book, Picasso tapped into the eroticism latent beneath Ingres’s image of bourgeois respectability. The serene profile reflected in a mirror at right in Picasso’s portrait likewise references its Neoclassical precedent but may also constitute an abstract self-portrait.
- Artist Name: Pablo Picasso (Spanish, 1881-1973)
- Title: Woman with a Book
- Date: 1932
- Medium: Oil on canvas
- Dimensions: 51-3/8 x 38-1/2 in. (130.5 x 97.8 cm)
- Credit Line: The Norton Simon Foundation
- Accession Number: F.1969.38.10.P
- Copyright: © Estate of Pablo Picasso / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
[Paul Rosenberg, Paris, confiscated during WWII; claim for monetary compensation received from French government.]
Antoine Rinieri, Paris, sold 4 August 1960 to;
[Paul Rosenberg and Co., New York, stock no. 5832, sold 13 December 1960 to];
Robert Ellis Simon, Los Angeles, to;
The Norton Simon Foundation.
- London, Rosenberg & Helft, Ltd., 1937-04-01 to 1937-04-30
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