Woman in the Studio, painted in 1956, depicts Jacqueline Roque seated in a chair. Jacqueline has been painted in the cubist style, which was developed by Picasso and Georges Braque around 1907. Picasso met Jacqueline in 1953 and married her in 1961 when he was 79 years old. Of all the women he painted, Picasso painted Jacqueline the most, over 70 times in one year.
The intention of the artists when painting in the cubist style is to render a three-dimensional object in a two-dimensional space, without flattening the object. Cubist painters also attempt to represent the object from multiple viewpoints, thus creating a distorted and abstracted view of a three-dimensional object within a two-dimensional medium. Some of Picasso’s cubist paintings are so abstracted that the object becomes unrecognizable.
In this painting, Picasso uses a monochromatic, gray scale. The only hint of color that the viewer can see is in the woman’s dress, where Picasso has added tinges of green to the light and dark gray patches. Due to the style of this painting, the perspective with which it is drawn can seem strange when we start to look at the placement of objects. Does it really look like the woman is sitting in the chair? Can you find where Picasso has drawn her hands?
Visit Picasso’s Woman in the Studio, on display through June 30, 2013, at the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art.