- Pablo Picasso
- FEMME ENDORMIE
- dated Boisgeloup 28 Juin XXXIII (bottom)
- oil on canvas
Galerie Thomas, Munich
Acquired from the above by the present owner in the 1980s
Tokyo, The National Museum of Modern Art & Kyoto, Municipal Museum, Picasso: Masterpieces from the Marina Picasso Collection and from Museums in U.S.A. and U.S.S.R., 1983, no. 132, illustrated in colour in the catalogue
Femme endormie is a portrait of Marie-Thérèse Walter, Picasso's muse who inspired some of the most romantic and sensual works of his œuvre. The artist met Marie-Thérèse no later than January 1927, when she was seventeen. With the words 'I am Picasso. You and I are going to do great things together', the forty-six year old artist introduced himself to the young woman who would soon become his mistress and muse for more than a decade. Many years later Marie-Thérèse recalled the circumstances of their sudden first encounter: 'I knew nothing – neither about life nor about Picasso. Nothing. I had been shopping at Galeries Lafayette and Picasso saw me coming out of the Metro' (quoted in L. Levy, Picasso, London, 1991, p. 88).
Captivated by her youthful, unpredictable spirit as well as by her voluptuous physique, Picasso's renderings of Marie-Thérèse are erotically charged, often showing her in the state of sleep and carefree abandon, as in the present work. William Rubin observed: 'None of Picasso's earlier relationships had provoked such sustained, lyrical power, such a sense of psychological awareness and erotic completeness... Picasso proceeds from his intense feeling for [Marie-Thérèse]... he paints the body contemplated, loved and self-contemplating' (W. Rubin, Picasso in the Collection of the Museum of Modern Art, New York, 1971, p. 138). This contemplative quality is beautifully presented in Femme endormie, showing Marie-Thérèse in her sleep, open to the viewer's gaze. The simple lines suggesting the bed resemble a pedestal, elevating the nude to a work of art in her own right.
Fig. 1, Pablo Picasso, Nu couché, 1932, oil on canvas, Musée Picasso, Paris