Overview

In 1909, Hamilton Easter Field, a Brooklyn painter and critic, asked Picasso to create a group of eleven paintings as a decoration for his library. Picasso accepted but, although he worked on the commission intermittently over the next several years, he never completed all eleven of the panels.

Nude Woman may be the first of the paintings Picasso did produce for Field. Its narrow, vertical format, dictated by the terms of the commission, is unusual in the artist's oeuvre, but in other respects the painting is typical of Picasso's analytic cubist style. Details of the figure, a breast, the head, may be made out, but in most respects the painting appears as disembodied shards of modeled form. Those forms are delineated by sharp lines which describe roughly geometric shapes, and which in turn make for a kind of grid pattern across the surface of the canvas. The color scheme of Nude Woman, limited to shades of brown, gray, and black, is also typical of analytic cubism. The muted palette allowed Picasso to concentrate upon the depiction of subtly shifting, overlapping planes in shallow space.

Inscription

lower center: Picasso

Marks and Labels

null

Provenance

Possibly (Galerie Pierre, Paris);[1] Mary Callery [1903-1977], Boulogne-sur-Seine and New York, by 1939.[2] Carlo Frua de Angeli [1895-1969], Milan, by 1959;[3] his estate; purchased May 1972 by (Galerie Beyeler, Basel);[4] purchased 5 October 1972 by NGA.

Exhibition History
1939
Picasso: Forty Years of his Art, Museum of Modern Art, New York; followed by a U.S. tour, 1939-1941, no. 94, repro., as Standing Figure.
1945
The Callery Collection: Picasso-Léger, Philadelphia Museum of Art, 1945, unnumbered catalogue, repro., as Standing Figure.
1955
Picasso: Peintures 1900-1955, Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Paris, 1955, no. 23, repro.
1960
Picasso, Tate Gallery, London, 1960, no. 54, repro.
1978
Aspects of Twentieth-Century Art, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., 1978-1979, no. 11, repro.
1980
Abstraction: Towards a New Art, Painting 1910-20, Tate Gallery, London, no. 1, repro.
1980
Pablo Picasso: A Retrospective, Museum of Modern Art, New York, 1980, unnumbered catalogue, repro.
1981
Picasso 1881-1973, Exposició Antològica, Museo Español de Arte Contemporáneo, Madrid; Museu Picasso, Barcelona, 1981-1982, no. 59, repro.
1983
Pablo Picasso Exhibition, National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo; Kyoto Municipal Museum of Art, 1983.
Bibliography
1932
Zervos, Christian. Pablo Picasso. 33 vols. Paris, 1932-1978: 2, part 1(1942): no. 233.
1975
European Paintings: An Illustrated Summary Catalogue. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1975: 268, repro.
1979
Watson, Ross. The National Gallery of Art, Washington. New York, 1979: 130, pl. 117.
1984
Walker, John. National Gallery of Art, Washington. Rev. ed. New York, 1984: 606, no. 939, color repro.
1985
European Paintings: An Illustrated Catalogue. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1985: 310, repro.
1989
Kramer, Hilton. "Modern Art at the National Gallery." The New Criterion 7, no. 8 (April 1989): 3.
1991
Kopper, Philip. America's National Gallery of Art: A Gift to the Nation. New York, 1991: 262-263, color repro.
1992
National Gallery of Art, Washington. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1992: 255, repro.
2004
Hand, John Oliver. National Gallery of Art: Master Paintings from the Collection. Washington and New York, 2004: 408, no. 339, color repro.
2009
Cooper, Harry. The Robert and Jane Meyerhoff Collection: Selected Works. Exh. cat. National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., 2009: 22, repro.
Technical Summary