Pablo Picasso

In the final months of 1906, Picasso made several studies of female nudes with deeply cut, almondshaped eyes and ovoid heads. The drawings were inspired by ancient Spanish (Iberian) sculptures that he had seen in the Louvre in Paris, and they reflect the artist’s attempt to transcend the traditional academic nude in his search for a more archetypal form. In this example, Picasso rapidly sketched his figure full-length and frontally, also including a study of her head in profile. The choppy, staccato graphic language was influenced by Paul Cézanne, whom Picasso called his “one and only master” (see Cézanne’s Bather with Outstretched Arms elsewhere in the exhibition).

Pablo Picasso
Spanish, 1881–1973 Female Nude, 1906
Chalk, with graphite
Gray Family Collection
Gray Collection Trust, Art Institute of Chicago
© 2021 Estate of Pablo Picasso / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
Photography by Jamie Stukenberg, Professional Graphics Inc.