Woman in an Armchair (Françoise Gilot)
Paris, June 15, 1946
Oil on canvas
99 x 71 cm
Museo Picasso Málaga. Gift of Bernard Ruiz-Picasso. MPM2.136
The sense of terror in the face of approaching war is palpable during this period. Nonetheless, works such as the present one reveal the strength of Picasso’s resistance as he continued to express his profound appreciation of life in the multifaceted repertoire of his representations: sketchbooks, preparatory studies, drawings, prints and paintings.
‘The next day he said, “You’d be better posing for me nude.” When I had taken off my clothes, he had me stand back to the entrance, very erect, with my arms at my side. Except for the shaft of daylight coming in through the high windows at my right, the whole place was bathed in a dim, uniform light that was on the edge of shadow. Pablo stood off, three or four yards from me, looking tense and remote. His eyes didn’t leave me for a second. He didn’t touch his drawing pad; he wasn’t even holding a pencil. It seemed a very long time. Finally he said, “I see what I need to do. You can dress now. You won’t have to pose again.”’
[Picasso in conversation with Françoise Gilot, rue des Grands-Augustins, Paris, May 1946, quoted in Françoise Gilot and Carlton Lake, Life with Picasso, New York, Review Books, 2019, p. 107]
What was happening in 1946?
- Picasso makes numerous portraits of Françoise Gilot and depicts Mediterranean themes in various media.
- The writer Gertrude Stein and the artist Nusch Éluard pass away.
- The UN General Assembly condemns Franco’s fascist regime and denies Spain admittance to the organisation.
- Winston Churchill popularises the term ‘Iron Curtain’ in reference to the separation between Soviet and Western nations.