Sunday, October 2, 2011

Portrait of Fernande Olivier by Pablo Picasso

This oil painting by Picasso struck me immediately as not his 'typical' style that he is famous for. The dark spot below the woman's bun immediately draws the eye in contrast to the white and then the viewer focuses on her face. I found that I could not stop looking at this woman's face. The choice of the white background is so non typical for a portrait. There is usually always something else there. Upon closer inspection the woman's clothing falls into the abstract art category Picasso does so well. The lines of her garment seem to have movement which adds life into a shockingly sparse portrait. This painting really feels like a mixture of styles; like he is in the middle of moving from one to the other.

The woman's gaze is clearly off to her right which adds to the intrigue. It seems as though the artist's gaze is upon the woman's face. His choice of detail on her head makes clear his intention of presenting what he thought was important. 

Remarkably, I feel that this painting moves along the plane from resemblance to abstraction as you look and study it. At first it appears as an unfinished painting, but the choice of white space in the background is in itself a form of abstraction. The viewer is meant to fill in the rest, and imagine where she is and who she is.

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