abstract; furniture; dish/bottle; music
This painting, a late example of Cubism, is considered one of Picasso’s masterworks, although when it was acquired by the Museum in 1932 it was a controversial purchase. Picasso, with Georges Braque, pioneered the radically new style of Cubism in 1908. Unlike the monochromatic paintings of Cubism’s first, or “Analytic,” phase, SCMA’s painting belongs to the later Synthetic phase (after 1912), when paintings were more colorful and were often composed of interlocking, opaque forms.
The Museum’s painting is a highly abstracted still life of a guitar and bottle on a pedestal table. The curved legs of the table are visible above the base of the composition; the guitar’s sound hole anchors the center of the canvas. Other forms, some of them striated (a possible reference to collages Picasso made with corrugated cardboard), are tipped up, layered, and flattened against the plane of the canvas.
Recent research has shown that this painting was probably begun earlier as a figure study. Picasso turned the canvas upside down and painted the still life over it, which produced a thicker paint surface.
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