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Young Woman with Mandolin

Pablo Picasso

Artwork Details

Young Woman with Mandolin
Pablo Picasso
oil on board
33 in x 26 ⅜ in x 2 ½ in (83.82 cm x 66.99 cm x 6.35 cm);33 in x 26 ⅜ in x 2 ½ in (83.82 cm x 66.99 cm x 6.35 cm);25 ¼ in x 18 7/16 in (64.14 cm x 46.83 cm)
Gift of The Carey Walker Foundation


March 28, 2009
The woman in this painting is almost certainly Picasso’s young mistress Marie-Thérèse Walter, described as “the most unfettered and passionate of all his loves,” and a favorite subject during the course of their affair in the early thirties. Although Picasso’s work from this period ranges from Cubist geometries to neoclassical portraits to calligraphic welded iron constructions, the sweeping, curvilinear style and soft, free-floating planes of color in this picture were reserved for Marie-Thérèse, his muse. The distinctive manner in which he has rendered her profile—with a continuous, arched line from forehead to nose—became his emblem for her depictions; the lyricism of the subject is echoed in the sensuous arabesques that comprise her body.

Subject Matter:

The painting is an abstract rendering of a woman seated in a chair, playing a mandolin. Picasso has emphasized the theme by including several musical symbols. The subject is Marie Therese Walter, Picasso’s lover at the time.

Physical Description:

This painting depicts the abstract form of a woman sitting in a chair with her head, shown in profile and tilted upward. There is a stringed instrument in her lap and her hands rest on the arms of the chair. It is painted in muted colors of aqua and lavender with brighter areas of yellow, orange and blue. The figure, chair and instrument are created with just a few black lines to suggest their forms.

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