Archival Labels
Woman in a Chemise in an Armchair
Pablo Picasso
Paris, late 1913–early 1914
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Paris 1955

This label, found on the stretcher of Picasso’s Woman in a Chemise in an Armchair (1913–14), confirms the painting’s inclusion in the major Picasso retrospective held at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, located at 107 rue de Rivoli (within a wing of the Palais du Louvre, Paris), from June 6–October 14, 1955.

Picasso’s long-time dealer, Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler, helped organize this traveling exhibition to commemorate the artist’s upcoming seventy-fifth birthday and the fiftieth anniversary of the artist’s relocation to Paris. Attesting to the show’s importance, Picasso loaned fifty pictures from his personal collection, including his masterpiece, Guernica (1937; Museo del Prado, Madrid), which was sent from New York’s Museum of Modern Art, where he had sent it for safekeeping during World War II.

A few days before the opening, Kahnweiler offered Picasso a chance to review the contents of the exhibition catalogue. The artist's comments presumably prompted the need for a second edition. In his catalogue entry for Woman in a Chemise in an Armchair, curator Maurice Jardot suggested its resemblance to Surrealist works. However, in the second edition’s entry on this painting, Kahnweiler noted the artist’s reluctance to acknowledge Surrealism’s influence on this painting and three others: La danse (1925; Tate Modern, London); Guitare (1926; Musée Picasso, Paris); and Femme assise dans un fauteuil (1941; Private Collection, Zervos 1932–78, Vol. 11 (1960), no. 91). Regardless, Woman in a Chemise in an Armchair had already been included in The International Surrealist Exhibition, in London’s New Burlington Galleries (June 11–July 4, 1936), and would later be included in Dada and Surrealism Reviewed at the Hayward Gallery (January 11–March 27, 1978). 

The 1955 Picasso retrospective in Paris included more than thirty Cubist works, two of which are now in the Leonard A. Lauder Cubist Collection: Student with a Newspaper (1913–14) and Head of a Man (1912). Both works traveled to the German venues of this exhibition: Haus der Kunst, Munich (October 25–December 18, 1955); Rheinisches Museum Köln-Deutz, Cologne (December 30, 1955–February 29, 1956); and Kunsthalle-Altbau, Hamburg (March 10–April 29, 1956). Woman in a Chemise in an Armchair, however, did not travel to Germany.

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