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.
lower center: Picasso
Possibly (Galerie Pierre, Paris); Mary Callery [1903-1977], Boulogne-sur-Seine and New York, by 1939. Carlo Frua de Angeli [1895-1969], Milan, by 1959; his estate; purchased May 1972 by (Galerie Beyeler, Basel); purchased 5 October 1972 by NGA.
- 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.
- The Callery Collection: Picasso-Léger, Philadelphia Museum of Art, 1945, unnumbered catalogue, repro., as Standing Figure.
- Picasso: Peintures 1900-1955, Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Paris, 1955, no. 23, repro.
- Picasso, Tate Gallery, London, 1960, no. 54, repro.
- Aspects of Twentieth-Century Art, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., 1978-1979, no. 11, repro.
- Abstraction: Towards a New Art, Painting 1910-20, Tate Gallery, London, no. 1, repro.
- Pablo Picasso: A Retrospective, Museum of Modern Art, New York, 1980, unnumbered catalogue, repro.
- Picasso 1881-1973, Exposició Antològica, Museo Español de Arte Contemporáneo, Madrid; Museu Picasso, Barcelona, 1981-1982, no. 59, repro.
- Pablo Picasso Exhibition, National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo; Kyoto Municipal Museum of Art, 1983.
- Zervos, Christian. Pablo Picasso. 33 vols. Paris, 1932-1978: 2, part 1(1942): no. 233.
- European Paintings: An Illustrated Summary Catalogue. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1975: 268, repro.
- Watson, Ross. The National Gallery of Art, Washington. New York, 1979: 130, pl. 117.
- Walker, John. National Gallery of Art, Washington. Rev. ed. New York, 1984: 606, no. 939, color repro.
- European Paintings: An Illustrated Catalogue. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1985: 310, repro.
- Kramer, Hilton. "Modern Art at the National Gallery." The New Criterion 7, no. 8 (April 1989): 3.
- Rubin, William. Picasso and Braque: Pioneering Cubism. Exh. cat. Museum of Modern Art, New York, 1989: 63-69, repro. 65.
- Kopper, Philip. America's National Gallery of Art: A Gift to the Nation. New York, 1991: 262-263, color repro.
- National Gallery of Art, Washington. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1992: 255, repro.
- Hand, John Oliver. National Gallery of Art: Master Paintings from the Collection. Washington and New York, 2004: 408, no. 339, color repro.
- Cooper, Harry. The Robert and Jane Meyerhoff Collection: Selected Works. Exh. cat. National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., 2009: 22, repro.