6,500,000 - 8,500,000 GBP
Maya Widmaier-Picasso, Paris (the artist’s daughter)
Wildenstein & Co., London
Acquired from the above by the present owner in 1980
Bogota, National Museum of Colombia, Pablo Picasso
, 2000, no. 29, illustrated in colour in the catalogue
Chemnitz, Kunstsammlung Chemnitz, Picasso et les femmes, 2002-03, illustrated in colour in the catalogue
Hélène Parmelin, Picasso: Les dames de Mougins
, Paris, 1964, illustrated in colour p. 63
Edward Quinn & Pierre Daix, Picasso avec Picasso, Stuttgart, 1987, illustrated p. 242
Carsten-Peter Warncke & Ingo F. Walther, Pablo Picasso, Cologne, 1991, vol. II, illustrated in colour p. 514 (titled Jacqueline accroupie)
Vividly coloured and conceived on an impressive scale, Femme accroupie
is a majestic image of the final love of the artist’s life, Jacqueline Roque (fig. 4). The palette recalls the brilliant primary tones Picasso used during the 1930s – a time often referred to as his ‘golden period’- whilst the boldly geometric composition alludes to the ground-breaking developments of his Cubist work. These stark planes of colour are counteracted by the pattern and shape of the figure’s dress and project Jacqueline's form to the front of the canvas. In 1954 Picasso – who had only met Jacqueline in the summer of 1952 – was in the first flush of love and this is reflected in the vigour and energy with which he approaches this portrait of his muse. Discussing the role Jacqueline would go on to take in Picasso’s life and art John Richardson wrote: ‘It is Jacqueline's image that permeates Picasso's work from 1954 until his death, twice as long as any of her predecessors […]. It is her body that we are able to explore more exhaustively and more intimately than any other body in the history of art. It is her solicitude and patience that sustained the artist in the face of declining health and death and enabled him to be more productive than ever before and to go on working into his ninety-second year. And lastly it is her vulnerability that gives a new intensity to the combination of cruelty and tenderness that endows Picasso's paintings of women with their pathos and their strength’ (J. Richardson in Late Picasso
(exhibition catalogue), Tate Gallery, London, 1988, p. 47).
From June to October 1954 Picasso painted Jacqueline in the same pose on several canvases (figs. 1 & 2), crouched with her hands clasped around her knees, some highly abstracted and brightly coloured, others more naturalistic and sombre. This pose showed of her strong profile, especially her large, heavy lidded eyes, which emphasised her exotic features. As the year drew to a close, Picasso took up his brushes again to explore a subject that had long fascinated him – Delacroix’s Les femmes d’Algers. Inspired by the recent death of his friend and rival Henri Matisse, Picasso’s works from this period were also a direct response to Matisse’s famous Odalisques. Moreover, it was Jacqueline’s striking resemblance to Delacroix’s dark haired women of Algiers that compelled him to explore the subject in no less than fifteen direct interpretations and numerous other permutations. In Femme accroupie, the brilliant colour schemes and bold compositional arrangements that Picasso went on to develop in his portraits of Jacqueline over the following year are already fully evident.