Paris, April 11, 1923
Oil and charcoal on canvas
200 x 150 cm
Fundación Almine y Bernard Ruiz-Picasso, Madrid. On temporary loan to the Museo Picasso Málaga
Married to Olga Khokhlova, a beautiful Russian ballerina, and father to their child, Paulo, Picasso borrowed from Etruscan engravings and French Mannerism to create a slimmed-down, modern version of the classical figure. Anticipating Andy Warhol by four decades, he transformed family photographs into haunting compositions of decisive lines floating over a coloured haze.
‘Academic training in beauty is a sham. We have been deceived, but so well deceived that we can scarcely get back even a shadow of the truth. The beauties of the Parthenon, Venuses, Nymphs, Narcissi, are so many lies. Art is not the application of a canon of beauty but what the instinct and the brain can conceive beyond any canon.’
[Picasso quoted in Christian Zervos, ‘Statement by Picasso’, in Picasso: Fifty Years of His Art, New York, Simon and Schuster, 1946, p. 273]
What was happening in 1923?
- Picasso is 42 years old and has his first monograph published.
- In Spain, Miguel Primo de Rivera begins his dictatorship.
- The Treaty of Lausanne sets the new borders of Turkey, effectively ending the Ottoman Empire.
- In Mexico, the revolutionary activist Pancho Villa is assassinated.