Woman in White Hat

Femme au chapeau blanc

Picasso painted this woman with this same hat on a number of occasions. In this composition she is seated, with her elbow resting on the back of the chair. Her other hand is delicately placed on her knee. Her face, gentle yet powerful, presents an image of someone lost in thought. The shades of blue, red and white are softened by touches of greys and browns, giving the whole painting the appearance of a large pastel in muted colours. The face could be that of his first wife Olga (1891-1955) as there is a certain resemblance. The monumentality of the figure also recalls the large bathers that Picasso produced in those same years, typified by the Grande Baigneuse [Large Bather] and Grand nu à la draperie [Large Nude with Drapery] in the Walter-Guillaume collection. There are also several other influences evident in this painting: Millet (1814-1875), with the meditative figures, and Corot (1796-1875), one of whose paintings of an Italienne assise [Seated Italian Woman] Picasso owned. In Picasso’s work, the closest work to this Woman in a White Hat, is a large drawing in the Marina Picasso collection, where the woman is holding a book in her left hand, resulting in the title Femme au missel [Woman with Prayer Book]. Paul Guillaume acquired this beautiful painting in 1929.

Provenance: Paul Guillaume (1929); Domenica Walter