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Mujer en azul (Woman in Blue)

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  • Date: 
    1901
  • Technique: 
    Oil on canvas
  • Dimensions: 
    133 x 100 cm
  • Category: 
    Painting
  • Entry date: 
    1988
  • Observations: 
    Entry date: 1988 (from the redistribution of the Museo Español de Arte Contemporáneo [MEAC] collection)
  • Register number: 
    AS01618
  • On display in:
There is a curious story behind this picture, painted during one of two short stays in Madrid between the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th centuries. Having shown the painting at the National Exhibition of Fine Arts in Madrid in 1901 where it received only an honourable mention, Pablo Picasso decided not to pick the painting up when the event closed. Time passed, and some decades later the picture was found and rescued from its oblivion by Enrique Lafuente Ferrari, the director from 1954 of what was then called the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo, so the painting became part of the State collections.
In his memoirs, the great novelist Pío Baroja masterfully recreated the atmosphere and the era in which the painter was doing this kind of female portrait: “When he was in Madrid, Pablo Picasso had taken a studio near the Calle Zurbano, where he spent his time painting women from memory with a certain Parisian air, and round, rosebud mouths. Picasso was a keen-eyed man, with an ironic, mocking smile.” Doubtless one of the most beautiful of these figures is the anonymous Mujer en azul (Woman in Blue), with her ample dress and enigmatic eyes.

Paloma Esteban Leal

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