Poire coupée, verre et pipe presents a group of objects—an apple, a wine glass, and a pipe—from several vantage points, providing a spectacle that would not otherwise be possible in a two-dimensional representation. While these items are quotidian at their core, they are also distinctively bohemian in nature, speaking to the surroundings Picasso found himself in 1914, in a gritty yet somehow idyllic post-Hausmann Paris. The present work belongs to an immensely important period of artistic development for Picasso which saw the beginning of his shift from analytic to synthetic Cubism.
Discussing this phase of Picasso's Cubism, John Richardson notes that these still-lifes "are astonishingly varied in their dazzling colours, elaborate patterning, rich textures and complex compositions. No longer did Picasso feel obliged to investigate the intricate formal and spatial problems that had preoccupied him ten years before. Instead he felt free to relax and exploit his cubist discoveries in a decorative manner that delights the eye" (John Richardson, Picasso, An American Tribute (exhibition catalogue), Knoedler Galleries, New York, 1962, n.p.).
Experimenting with the deconstruction and reconstruction of form and the manipulation of space in his Cubist compositions, Picasso exposes the unique physicality of the objects he depicts. A rich aberration on the still life, the present work is characterized by a focus on objects that enabled Picasso to explore new representational possibilities. As Anne Umland writes, the “manipulation of objects—many of which…define volumes (other musical instruments, bottles, wineglasses, cups), although they lack its extreme planarity—may have helped to compel a new visual vocabulary that was at once pictorial and sculptural in motivation and affect” (quoted in Picasso: Guitars 1912-1914 (exhibition catalogue), The Museum of Modern Art, New York, 2011, p. 22).
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