Having invented Cubism with Georges Braque around 1907, Pablo Picasso spent the next sixty-five years playing with his creation. He explored ways art could free itself from slavishly describing reality while still evoking it. Here, the amoeba-like body of the woman is intentionally distorted; her head, torso, and limbs are exaggerated and deformed almost beyond recognition. The jumble of patterns, and the strong lines of the wainscoting and floor, convey an unsettling tension that is at odds with the placid, gray-and-white profiles that float like cast shadows upon the surface. Through such a juxtaposition of tension and calm, the artist depicted the several faces of emotion that form the reality of human existence. However, like many other images of women created during the late 1920s and early 1930s, Woman in an Armchair is also a reflection of the artist's reality—a deteriorating marriage with his first wife, Olga Khokhlova.