Pablo Picasso

Spanish, 1881-1973

La toilette

Pablo Picasso (Spanish, 1881–1973). La toilette, 1906. Oil on canvas, 59 1/2 x 39 inches (151.1 x 99 cm). Collection Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York; Fellows for Life Fund, 1926 (1926:9). © Succession Picasso / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.

© Succession Picasso / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

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© Succession Picasso / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Image downloads are for educational use only. For all other purposes, please see our Obtaining and Using Images page.

© Succession Picasso / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Image downloads are for educational use only. For all other purposes, please see our Obtaining and Using Images page.

La toilette, 1906

Artwork Details

Collection Highlight

Materials

oil on canvas

Measurements

support: 59 1/2 x 39 inches (151.13 x 99.06 cm); framed: 68 x 48 x 5 inches (172.72 x 121.92 x 12.7 cm)

Collection Buffalo AKG Art Museum

Credit

Fellows for Life Fund, 1926

Accession ID

1926:9

In 1904, Pablo Picasso moved from his home in Spain to the bohemian Paris neighborhood of Montparnasse, beginning his lifelong relationship with the French avant-garde. However, in the summer of 1906, Picasso and his female companion Fernande Olivier (French, 1881–1966) traveled back to Spain, where they stayed in the remote village of Gósol in the Pyrenees. Happy to get away from the bustle of Paris, Picasso focused on his work. At the time, the artist was engaged in what has become known as his Rose Period, during which he rendered his subjects in vivid red, orange, pink, and earthy tones. Fernande appears in numerous compositions of this era, and she served as the model for both of the women depicted in La toilette. This painting is a poignant study in contrasts. The figure on the left is nude and stands frontally as she views at herself in a mirror held by the second figure. This act of self-admiration is juxtaposed against the timid demeanor of the clothed woman on the right, who presents quietly in profile. Picasso’s dual portrait can be seen as an idealized view of the two sides of his mistress: the sensual and the modest. After three months, Picasso returned to Paris. There he became interested in a more primitive style and made a radical break from his almost naturalistic treatment of the figure in works such as La toilette—a decision that charted his path toward Cubism.

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