Les Demoiselles d’Avignon (The Young Ladies of Avignon, and originally titled The Brothel of Avignon) is a large oil painting created in 1907 by the Spanish artist Pablo Picasso (1881–1973) and now on exhibit in New York’s Museum of Modern Art.
The work portrays five nude female prostitutes from a brothel on Carrer d’Avinyó (Avignon Street) in Barcelona. Each figure is depicted in a disconcerting confrontational manner and none is conventionally feminine. Source [WikiPedia]
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- The painting was originally to be a brothel scene with prostitutes and their customers. However, as the piece progressed, Picasso made sweeping changes and the resulting image became an expressive image of abstract forms and intertwining shapes.
- Picasso decided to keep this painting out of sight for many years. This was until 1924 when it was sold for 25,000 francs to Jacques Doucet. By this time, Picasso was very much on top of the art world and seemingly didn’t need to sell the painting, especially for such a low sum, but he did so as Doucet promised it would be left to the Louvre in his will.
However, this did not happen and the painting was sold onto other private collectors, before eventually finding its permanent home in The Museum of Modern Art in New York from 1937.
- At the time, Picasso had been studying African art forms, and on the image, we can see three of the women wearing African ceremonial masks, such as the Mboom. This inclusion is also likely due to the recent colonial trade which had been important to Europe from Africa, which had also been an influence on western art.
- This painting formed the basis of this new art form known as cubism form.
- The piece is also interesting in that both organic and geometric shapes have been used to create the forms of the women. In the top right hand corner, we have a woman formed from sharp geometric forms, squares, diamonds and the like. This form is the most cubist of the piece.
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