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Woman in a Red Armchair

Pablo Picasso Spanish

Not on view

This powerful painting of a woman seated in an armchair, done on Christmas Day 1931, likely depicts Picasso’s mistress Marie-Thérèse Walter. Her curved arms and torso are clearly delineated, if abstract, while her face is virtually illegible, obliterated by a series of vigorous brushstrokes and a black heart that expands from one side of her neck. The painting may evoke the tension within the artist’s household at a time when he was torn between his wife, Olga, and Marie-Thérèse. As in The Charnel House, on view nearby, Picasso heightens the psychological charge of the picture through acts of deformation and incompleteness. This is the first time this work has been shown in a public exhibition.

Woman in a Red Armchair, Pablo Picasso (Spanish, Malaga 1881–1973 Mougins, France), Oil on canvas

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