Composition: Peasants

Composition : Paysans

This extremely beautiful study on paper was painted by Picasso in 1906 in preparation for a large oil on canvas entitled Paysans [Peasants], now in the Barnes Foundation of Philadelphia in the United States. It is valuable evidence of the creative process of the Philadelphia painting, but also a work of great quality in its own right. The subject here is a father and his daughter in a bucolic setting. The father has his hand on his daughter’s shoulder in a gesture of protection and tenderness, while above them is a rapidly sketched garland of flowers. This sketch displays a great freedom and virtuosity of line. Some elements, like the flowers in the garland and the folds in the father’s shirt, are simply suggested with rapidly drawn lines. The colours to some extent come from the tones of the earth around the village of Gósol in Spain where Picasso stayed in 1906, particularly those of the trousers of the male figure. As for the faces, rendered in white with blue shadows, they recall Picasso’s earlier period, known as his “blue period” when he favoured this colour. 1906 was for Picasso a period of intense experimentation into pictorial volume, as he moved subtly towards an increasingly assured stylisation. This would lead him the following year to put in place the elements of the famous Demoiselles d’Avignon [The Young Ladies of Avignon].

Provenance: New-York, Valentine Dudensing's gallery; Paul Guillaume; Domenica Walter