Called ‘Nude in a Black Armchair’ (Nu au Fauteuil Noir) it was the largest of the series measuring 162 cm x 130 cm. It is an oil on canvas painting. The painting shows the curves of a sleeping female figure with a philodendron plant behind her.
It combines the union of a woman with nature. Critics describe the picture’s sexual theme as coming from the addition of the plant as a symbol of fertility.
Many view Pablo Picasso as one of the world’s greatest artists of the 20th century. As well as being a painter, Picasso was also a sculptor, printmaker, ceramicist and stage designer.
He produced a large number of works during his long career. Many saw his work and ideas as radical. In 1932 Picasso was living in Boisgeloup outside of Paris. While living there, Picasso painted ‘Nude in a Black Armchair’. This was the largest and the first of a series of paintings he finished that year.
In producing the work, Picasso makes use of the creative styles employed by Henri Matisse. His use of adjacent colours (black and pink) are suggestive of Matisse. In the painting, Picasso makes use of Matisse’s style for voluptuous curves as a way of displaying sexual pleasure. This shows itself in the female figure in the painting.
The woman is his mistress, Marie-Thérèse Walter. She was well-known for her blond hair, her voluptuous figure and curved nose. Bought in 1999 by Les Wexner for $45 million, the painting is part of a private collection at the Wexner Centre for the Arts. At the time it was the most expensive nude painting sold.
During his long career, Picasso adopted a variety of different artistic styles in his works. Despite this, within Picasso’s many works, there can be seen his use of the artistic styles of Cubism and Surrealism. While there are many different viewpoints his most notable works are thought to be:
- La Vie (1903)
- Family of Saltimbanques (1905)
- Les Demoiselles d'Avignon (1907)
- Portrait of Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler (1910)
- Girl before a Mirror (1932)
- Le Rêve (1932)
- Guernica (1937)
- The Weeping Woman (1937)
Even though he was born in Spain, Picasso spent much of his life in France, even during the Second World War. It was in 1904 that he permanently moved to France. Picasso died in 1973 in Mougins, France after a long career producing a large number of works. That Picasso kept working for so long may be the belief he had that work would keep him alive.
Picasso was an artist whose work many have described as being different from others of the era. His works have commanded high prices, even while he was alive. During his lifetime it’s thought that he produced 50,000 works of art. This includes amongst other things a large number of paintings, sculptures, drawings and prints.
While other great artists created works that fell within the boundaries of known styles, Picasso was someone who was an innovator in his style of works. At different points during his career, Picasso made use of elements such as Surrealism, Expressionism, Post-Impressionism and Symbolism in his works of art.
His skill and creative vision are said to have had a strong impact on the up and coming painters of the 20th Century. Picasso is best known for being one of the world’s best known and influential artists. For many, Picasso is someone who added greatly to the progress of modern art in the 20th century.