Seated Woman

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‘This 1906 drawing was probably inspired by Picasso’s companion Fernande Olivier (1881-1966), […]. The pencil sketch is related to two sketches (Z.VI.81, Z.VI.820) and two paintings (Z.I.372, 374); all are thought to be studies for a large-format painting of a seated nude. Of these preparatory works, the present example is the most representative of the final painting and may be considered a finished sketch, for it outlines the painting’s overall schema as well as the model’s attitude and general features in the final version. Except for the position of the legs, there is little difference between the woman’s pose here and that of the final painting.

The woman’s face here reflects the simplification associated with Picasso’s Works from Gosol in the spring and summer of 1906. Many are portraits of Fernande. At this time, her long hair is sometimes hidden in a tight chignon (Z.I.332) or wrapped in a scarf (Z.I.319). Her forehead, however, remains prominently exposed. […]

Characteristic of the techniques that Picasso used to depict faces, including his own, the model’s right eyebrow is formed from a single line that arcs into the nose, dissociating it from the left eye that remain isolated on the opposite side of the face (e.g., The Philadelphia Museum of Art, Z.I.37; Self-Portrait, fall 1906, as well as numerous self-portrait sketches from this time such as MP 524r,v and MP 526). The same method is used to depict Fernande in a charcoal sketch from 1906 of her wearing a white mantilla, or lace head covering (MP 510). Schematic notebook sketches made in Paris after Picasso’s summer in Gosol repeat variations of this technique in several portraits and bust studies (e.g., MP 1858/21r, 38r and Bust of Woman, fall 1906). The notebook also shows how he experimented with form, trying to give volume to faces and bodies. Using himself and his lovers as models, Picasso employed a mix of features and techniques to implement his ideas about visual weight and dimension. […]’.

Text: GIMÉNEZ, Carmen (ed). Collection Museo Picasso Málaga. Malaga: Museo Picasso Málaga, 2003, p. 194.


What was happening in 1906?

  • Picasso sells twenty-seven works to Vollard for 2,000 francs.
  • Jack London publishes 'White Fang'.
  • An assassination attempt is carried out on King Alfonso XIII and Queen Victoria Eugenia of Spain on their wedding day.
  • The Algeciras Conference is held, during which Morocco is divided between France and Spain as a protectorate.

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