Large Still Life

Grande nature morte

This extremely beautiful composition is the only Cubist work that was kept by Domenica, Paul Guillaume’s widow. The dealer and collector had owned a collection of high quality Cubist paintings by Pablo Picasso that his wife later put up for sale. The more classical aspect of Paul Guillaume’s Picasso collection in the Musée de l’Orangerie is therefore due to its redefinition after his death, but we should not forget the boldness of his original choices. This painting belongs to a period of Picasso’s work characterised by late Cubism. It was probably produced when the artist was staying in Biarritz in 1918. The subject is very classical - a still life on a table with a bottle, a glass and a fruit bowl. However, the objects are represented by synthesising different points of view, breaking the traditional laws of perspective, and rendering invalid all notions of realism. Here, the table is represented by a large beige parallelepiped, which seems to float almost vertically in space, thus making the objects on top appear precariously unbalanced. The superposition of planes and the range of colours that seek to convey the texture of the materials (wood), recall Picasso’s earlier experiments with montage and with synthetic Cubism, as if these had been transposed on a larger scale several years later.

Provenance : Paul Guillaume ; Domenica Walter