Executed in 1919, Femme au manteau is an elegant picture reflecting Picasso’s interest in an Ingresque Classicism, yet is imbued with the spirit of its era. The effortless glamour of the woman appears to bear witness to the new society lifestyle to which Picasso had been introduced by his new wife Olga, and in which he was revelling, feted as he was by the rich, the talented and the famous. During this period, Picasso often used photographic source material for his pictures. However, here gentle distortions are apparent that show the work to be the product of Picasso’s own view and vision. The distortion has, with Picasso’s customary virtuosity, been manipulated in such a way as to lead the viewer’s eye especially towards accentuated hands and face. These features, rendered with calligraphic simplicity, and the other extensive areas kept in reserve, contrast interestingly with the almost carefree hatching with which he has rendered the fur of the coat, and thereby demand the viewer’s attention.
At the time Femme au manteau was executed Picasso was limiting himself to minor exaggerations, however the distorted features that Picasso was creating during this period of the so-called Rappel à l’ordre in the wake of the First World War would culminate in the early 1920s in such pictures as the iconic 1922 painting Deux femmes courant sur la plage (La course). In Femme au manteau, these distortions add to the composition of the work, while also enhancing the monumentality of the drawing, in confident defiance of the picture’s modest number of lines and lack of shading. The relative sparsity of line in Femme au manteau is thus defused by the solidity of the hands, despite their being depicted largely through the use of unarticulated space.
GALERIE SOPHIE SCHEIDECKER
14 Bis rue des Minimes 75003 Paris France
T +33 1 42 74 26 94