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The Cubist Portraits of Fernande Olivier
Jeffrey Weiss
With essays by Valerie J. Fletcher and Kathyrn A. Tuma

Hardcover | 2003 | $78.50 | £65.95 | ISBN: 9780691117416
192 pp. | 8 1/2 x 10 1/2 | 82 color plates. 68 duotones.
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Between spring and winter 1909, Picasso executed more than sixty portraits of his companion, Fernande Olivier. These works--produced in a variety of formats and mediums--exhibit a range of artistic approaches dedicated to a single subject that stands out in the history of portraiture. Even more significant, this series of works coincided with the invention of Cubism. Published to accompany a major exhibition originating at the National Gallery of Art, Washington, this richly illustrated volume illuminates Picasso's radical reformulation of human physiognomy.

Containing eighty-two color illustrations and sixty-eight duotones, the catalogue explores the Fernande portraits and related works as a single oeuvre culminating in the magnificent Head of a Woman (Fernande)--one of Picasso's rare pre-1912 excursions into sculpture. By so doing, it allows us to examine Picasso's process in an unprecedented fashion. What emerges is a new picture of the artist pursuing his subject with obsessive repetition and struggling to resolve artistic problems during a time of crisis in his work. Also included are previously unpublished studio photographs that offer further insight into the conceptual nature of the artist's process. The text narrates the internal development of the Fernande portrait series, situates it within the broader history of representation, and considers the powerful impact of Cézanne on Picasso's work during this period.

Seizing a single extended moment in the early history of Cubism, this catalogue reveals Cubism's great achievement--its startling invention, its remarkable expressive power, and its profound formal and psychological implications for modern art.


National Gallery of Art, Washington
October 1, 2003 - January 18, 2004

Nasher Sculpture Garden, Dallas
February 15 - May 9, 2004


"In the 30 years since his death, the epic career of Pablo Picasso has sustained endless parsing and subdivision, yielding exhibitions of ever sharper focus. But few of these shows equal the spectacular close-up provided by Picasso: The Cubist Portraits of Fernande Olivier at the National Gallery of Art. . . . [A] revelatory, singularly moving show."--Roberta Smith, New York Times

"In this . . . exhibition . . . we get to see one subject, explored in depth by one astounding artist, at one impossibly important moment in the history of art. It gives us the chance to really concentrate on a few works that don't stop posing questions and striking sparks off each other. . . . Picasso is working without the rules--and without a net--and every single move has to be figured out from scratch, tested just by launching into it. . . . I cannot think of any other moment in the history of art where an artist has this much freedom, and has to decide all for himself what he should do with it. . . . He's not working toward cubism, or any other -ism for that matter. He's just working. . . . Picasso is not the alchemist-magician that became his favorite pose; he's more like an eager young genius working long hours in the lab."--Blake Gopnik, Washington Post

"Picasso is intellectually challenging and rewarding, argued convincingly with the aid of 150 reproductions. . . . A conviction that drawing, painting, sculpture, and photography were deliberately and innovatively interwoven in Picasso's processes of creation unifies and enlivens this volume throughout."--Choice

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Table of Contents:

Director's Forward xii
Lender's to the Exhibition xiii
Preface xv
Fleeting and Fixed: Picasso's Fernandes 1
Catalogue 51
La Peau de Chargrin 127
Process and Techniques in Picasso's Head of a Woman (Fernande) 165
Chronology 193
Photographic Credits 197

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Published in association with the National Gallery of Art, Washington

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 Hardcover : $78.50 ISBN: 9780691117416

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  • For hardcover/paperback orders in Europe, Africa, the Middle East, India, and Pakistan

 Hardcover  £65.95 ISBN: 9780691117416

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File created: 7/11/2017

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