Pared down to essential forms, the present work exemplifies Picasso's unwavering commitment to artistic evolution. 'Severe restriction of representation not only enabled Picasso to telegraph his subject, it also freed him to explore an aspect of the theme that had previously held in check-the sheer physical activity of wielding paint with a brush. It may seem paradoxical that Picasso did not address this most basic element of pictorial form until the last decade of his career. Yet the course of his involvement with the theme of the studio can be seen as a gradual liberating of his practice from the strictures of the academy that were drilled into him under his father's guidance and he escaped into more progressive approaches, until he arrived at a raw directness: the act of painting itself, as a statement of the studio theme and the creative expression that always underlies it, moored by only the most tentative lines to traditional ground. In changing this trajectory, it should be recognized that the Abstract Expressionists, particularly Willem de Kooning, had arrived at a similar resolution in the previous decade. Picasso's late style is probably a product of both his accumulated art history and his continuing […] attention to contemporary art' (Michael Fitzgerald in Picasso, The Artist's Studio (exhibition catalogue), Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Hartford and The Cleveland Museum of Art, 2001, p. 154).
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