This pastel is a study for Three Women at the Spring (Museum of Modern Art, New York), Picasso's major neoclassical composition painted in the autumn of 1921. Although the gigantic goddesses in that work seem otherworldly, their features were in fact inspired by Picasso's wife, the Ukrainian dancer Olga Kokhlova. The scale and technique, however, derive from the ancient wall paintings Picasso had seen in and around Rome and Naples in 1917 while working for Sergei Diaghilev's Ballets Russes; it was on that same trip that he met and fell in love with Olga.
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Inscription: Signed in black pastel, lower right: P¦icasso¦; dated below, in graphite: Septembre 1921 Dated and inscribed on verso, upper left: Septembre 1921 / Fountainebleau
[Paul Rosenberg, Paris, 1921–23; purchased from the artist on October 12/13, 1921; sold on July 12, 1923 to Thayer]; Scofield Thayer, Vienna and New York (1923–d. 1982; on extended loan to the Worcester Art Museum, Massachusetts, 1931–82; his bequest to MMA)
Munich. Moderne Galerie / Thannhauser. "Pablo Ruiz Picasso," May 9–June 1922, no. 28, 29 or 30 (as "Frauenkopf").
Prague. Spolek výtvarných umelcu Mánes (Mánes Hall, Mánes Union of Artists). "Pablo Ruiz Picasso," September 2–October 15, 1922, no. 24 or 26 (as "Hlava ženy").
New York. Montross Gallery. "Original Paintings, Drawings, and Engravings Being Exhibited with the Dial Folio 'Living Art'," January 26–February 14, 1924, no catalogue (typed checklist no. 31; as "Head").
Worcester Art Museum. "Exhibition of the Dial Collection of Paintings, Engravings, and Drawings by Contemporary Artists," March 5–30, 1924, no. 28 (as "Head").
Northampton, Mass. Hillyer Art Gallery, Smith College. "The Dial Collection," May 1924, no catalogue.
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. "The Sources of Modern Painting: A Loan Exhibition Assembled from American Public and Private Collections," March 2–April 9, 1939, no. 60.
New York. Wildenstein Gallery. "The Sources of Modern Painting: A Loan Exhibition Assembled from American Public and Private Collections by The Institute of Modern Art," April 25–May 20, 1939, no. 41.
New York. Museum of Modern Art. "Picasso: Forty Years of His Art," November 15, 1939–January 7, 1940, no. 158.
Cambridge, Mass. Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University. "Classicism in Western Art," July 1–August 17, 1941, no catalogue.
Worcester Art Museum. "The Dial and the Dial Collection," April 30–September 8, 1959, no. 79.
Worcester Art Museum. "Selections from the Dial Collection," November 13–30, 1965, unnum. checklist.
Worcester Art Museum. "The Dial Revisited," June 29–August 22, 1971, no catalogue.
Worcester Art Museum. "'The Dial': Arts and Letters in the 1920s," March 7–May 10, 1981, no. 109.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Selection Two: Twentieth-Century Art," June 4–September 2, 1985, no catalogue.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "60 Drawings: Recent Acquisitions," October 23, 1990–January 15, 1991, no catalogue.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Drawings: Additions to the Collection," May 23–September 29, 1991, no catalogue.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Painters in Paris: 1895–1950," March 8–December 31, 2000, extended to January 14, 2001, not in catalogue.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Barcelona and Modernity: Gaudí to Dalí," March 7–June 3, 2007, no. 6:21.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Picasso in The Metropolitan Museum of Art," April 27–August 1, 2010, no. 68.
Clive Bell. Since Cézanne. New York, 1922, p. 82, ill.
"Modern Art Spirit Seen in Collection." Worcester Daily Telegram (March 6, 1924), p. 4.
Dial 81, no. 3 (September 1926), frontis.
F[rancis]. H[enry] T[aylor]. "Modern French Paintings in the Museum." Bulletin of the Worcester Art Museum 22, no. 4 (January 1932), p. 70.
Alfred M. Frankfurter. "The Sources of Modern Painting: A Concrete Exposition by the Boston Institute of Modern Art." Art News 37 (March 11, 1939), pp. 5, 14, ill. p. 20 and cover.
Helen F[rances]. Mackenzie. Understanding Picasso: A Study of His Styles and Development. Chicago, 1940, pl. XI, in "Classic Period, 1918 to 1925" section.
Alfred H. Barr Jr. Picasso: Fifty Years of His Art. New York, 1946, p. 118, ill.
Joan Merli. Picasso, el artista y la obra de nuestro tiempo. 2nd ed. (1st ed.,1942). Buenos Aires, 1948, p. 601, fig. 245.
Christian Zervos. Pablo Picasso. Vol. 4, Oeuvres de 1920 à 1922. Paris and New York, 1951, p. 136, no. 346, ill.
Nicholas Joost. Scofield Thayer and The Dial: An Illustrated History. Carbondale, Ill., 1964, ill. between pp. 268 and 269.
Jean Sutherland Boggs, ed. Picasso and Man. Exh. cat., Art Gallery of Toronto. Toronto, 1964, p. 91.
Anthony Blunt. "Picasso's Classical Period (1917-1925)." Burlington Magazine 110 (April 1968), pp. 188–89, fig. 22.
Pablo Picasso. Tokyo, 1981, pl. 60.
Lisa M. Messinger in "Twentieth Century Art." The Metropolitan Museum of Art: Notable Acquisitions, 1984–1985. New York, 1985, pp. 48–49, ill.
Gary Tinterow et al. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Vol. 8, Modern Europe. New York, 1987, p. 128, colorpl. 106.
John Richardson. "Rediscovering an Early Modern Vision: The Dial Collection Recalls the Life and Times of Scofield Thayer." House and Garden 159, no. 2 (February 1987), ill. p. 158 (color).
William Rubin, ed. Picasso and Portraiture: Representation and Transformation. Exh. cat., Museum of Modern Art, New York. New York, 1996, pp. 314, 319, ill.
Anne Baldassari. Le Miroir noir: Picasso, sources photographiques, 1900–1928. Exh. cat., Musée Picasso. Paris, 1997, p. 221, fig. 221.
Anne Baldassari. Picasso and Photography: The Dark Mirror. Exh. cat., Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. Paris, 1997, pp. 124, 175, ill.
Josep Palau i Fabre. Picasso: From the Ballets to Drama (1917-1926). Cologne, 1999, pp. 300, 512, fig. 1114.
John Richardson. Picasso: The Classical Period. Exh. cat., C&M Arts. New York, 2003, p. 12, ill.
Julia May Boddewyn in Michael FitzGerald. Picasso and American Art. Exh. cat., Whitney Museum of American Art. New York, 2006, pp. 333–34, 348, 352.
Imai Keiko et al. Pikaso: Itsutsu no tema/ Picasso: Five Themes. Exh. cat., Pola Museum of Art, Kanagawa. Kanagawa, 2006, p. 87, ill.
John Richardson with Marilyn McCully. A Life of Picasso. Vol. 3, The Triumphant Years: 1917-1932. New York, 2007, pp. 184, 196, ill.
Gary Tinterow inPicasso in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Ed. Gary Tinterow and Susan Alyson Stein. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 2010, p. 10.
Magdalena Dabrowski inPicasso in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Ed. Gary Tinterow and Susan Alyson Stein. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 2010, pp. 190–92, no. 68, ill. (color), fig. 68.2 (installation photo, artist's studio, 1921).
Rachel Mustalish inPicasso in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Ed. Gary Tinterow and Susan Alyson Stein. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 2010, p. 192.
Michel Hilaire inPicasso. Donner à voir. Ed. Michel Hilaire and Stanislas Colodiet. Exh. cat., Musée Fabre de Montpellier Méditerranée Métropole. Montpellier, 2018, p. 66, fig. 22 (color).
Anna Jozefacka and Luise Mahler. "Reading Picasso in Munich and Prague in 1922." Umění / Art 70, no. 2 (2022), p. 177 nn. 32, 35–36, p. 187, nos. M28, M29 or M30, P24 or P26.
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