Pablo Picasso. Woman with Pears. Horta de San Joan, summer 1909

Pablo Picasso

Woman with Pears

Horta de San Joan, summer 1909

Oil on canvas
36 1/4 x 27 7/8" (92.1 x 70.8 cm)
Florene May Schoenborn Bequest
Object number
© 2016 Estate of Pablo Picasso / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
Painting and Sculpture
This work is on view on Floor 5, in Painting and Sculpture I, Gallery 2, with 21 other works online.
Pablo Picasso has 1,238 works online.
There are 2,242 paintings online.

This is one of several portraits Picasso painted of his companion, Fernande Olivier, during the summer of 1909, a period that the couple spent in Picasso's native Spain. While the pears in the background are modeled in the round, Picasso radically reconfigured Oliviers head and bust, fragmenting them into geometrical segments. This fracturing of solid volumes offered an alternative to the traditional illusionistic and perspectival approach to depicting three–dimensional space on a two–dimensional surface and suggests the direction Picasso's process would take in the development of Cubism. The slices carved into the figures neck and the diamond recesses of her eyes are replicated in the sculpture Womans Head (Fernande), which Picasso created in the fall of that year.

Gallery label from 2009

Provenance Research Project
This work is included in the Provenance Research Project, which investigates the ownership history of works in MoMA's collection.
The artist, Paris; sold through Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler (1884-1979) to Alfred Flechtheim (1878-1937), Düsseldorf, Berlin, and London, 1912 [1]; [on loan to Alex Reid & Lefevre, London] [2]; acquired by Douglas Cooper (1911-1984), London, 1934 or after [3]; acquired by Pierre Matisse Gallery, New York, March 1937 [4]; sold to Walter P. Chrysler, Jr., New York, 1937 [5]; acquired by Florene (1903-1995) and Samuel A. Marx (1948-1964), Chicago, 1955 [6]; acquired by The Museum of Modern Art, New York, 1996 (Florene May Schoenborn Bequest).
[1] See Das Kunstblatt vol. 15 (January 1931), p. 13, qtd. in Ottfried Dascher, Alfred Flechtheim: Sammler, Kunsthändler, Verleger, Wädenswil: Nimbus, 2011, p. 432.
Included in the exhibition Ausstellung Pablo Picasso, Moderne Galerie Heinrich Thannhauser, Munich, February 1913 (no. 52: Frauenkopf, reproduced). See Carl Einstein, Die Kunst des 20. Jahrhunderts, Berlin: Propyläen-Verlag 1928, p. 265: "Frau mit Birnen. 1909. Berlin: Galerie Flechtheim (früher Kopenhagen, Sammlung Tetzen-Lund)." Tetzen-Lund's ownership is unclear.
[2] With Alex Reid & Lefevre, London, according to Pierre Daix, Picasso: The Cubist Years 1907-1916, A Catalogue Raisonné of the Paintings and Related Works, London: Thames and Hudson, 1979, no. 290. Included in the exhibition Thirty Years of Pablo Picasso, Alex Reid & Lefevre, Ltd., London (June 1931), no. 10: "Collection Alfred Flechtheim."
[3] Offered for sale at the exhibition 20th Century Classics, Mayor Gallery, London, February-March, 1934. Previously shown at the exhibitions Picasso, Galeries Georges Petit, Paris, June 15-July 30, 1932 (no. 50) and Picasso, Kunsthaus Zurich, September 11-October 30, 1932 (no. 52).
[4] See Pierre Matisse Gallery Archives, The Morgan Library & Museum, Subseries: Cooper, Douglas, 1911-1984, 113.32 (Correspondence, 1936-1941, 1952-1953, 1982).
[5] Zervos vol. II.1 (1942), no. 170. Included in the exhibition Selected Exhibition of the Walter P. Chrysler Collection, Detroit Institute of Arts, Detroit, October 1937 (no. 11). Lent by Chrysler to the exhibition Picasso, Forty Years of His Art, The Museum of Modern Art, New York, November 15, 1939-January 7, 1940 (no. 84).
[6] Pierre Daix, Picasso: The Cubist Years 1907-1916, no. 290.

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