This painting is a further development of Picasso's early interest n Hellenistic sculpture which is also shown in his drawing Reclining Nude
of 1920. Here, two years after the drawing, Picasso attempted to achieve sculptural solidity on a two-dimensional surface by modeling with light and shadow.Although Picasso was experimenting with figures in action up to this time, his predominant interest was still in the massive solidity of form. In Woman by the Sea,
he deliberately distorted the forms of the body, greatly foreshortening the woman. Picasso arbitrarily placed the small head off-center on the shoulders. The left side is supposed to be closer and lower than the right but the frontality of the rest of the body betrays this as an unnatural distortion. The hair and expression of the face clearly reflect Hellenistic influence as do the pose and dress of the figure.The massiveness and overpowering presence of the figure is emphasized by its isolation against an empty background. Nothing detracts from the stone-like figure. The colors are flat blues and whites. This is a typical example of Picasso's "neo-classic" phase.Referenced Work of Art
- Pablo Ruiz y Picasso, Spanish, 1881- . Woman by the Sea, 1922 (Femme assise au bord de la mer). Oil on canvas, 23 3/4" x 19 3/4". Signed and dated lower right: Picasso 22. Accession 61.36.24.CollectionsPaul Rosenberg, Paris; Baron J. van der Elst, Rome; Daniel H. Kahnweiler, Paris; Lilly von Schnitzer, Frankfurt-am-Main; Curt Valentin Gallery, New York; P. D. McMillan, Minneapolis, 19 September, 1952; The Minneapolis Institute of Arts, Bequest of Putnam Dana McMillan, 15 November, 1961.ExhibitedNew York, Curt Valentin Gallery, 1952-1953.ReferencesChristian Zervos, Pablo Picasso, Editions Cahiers d'Art, IV:159, 1951, pl, 383.