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Framed
November 26, 2015

Behind the Canvas #1: Pablo Picasso

Text by Ranjabati Das

Learn more about the legendary ‘The Women of Algiers’ series of paintings…

Pablo Picasso’s
Les Femmes d’Alger or The Women of Algiers

When: 1954-’55

Inspiration: The Spanish cubist was inspired by Eugène Delacroix’s Women of Algiers, and his recently deceased friend and fellow artist Henri Matisse, who specialised in the depiction of odalisques, to paint the series of 15 paintings.

Arabian Power: Version ‘O’, the last of the series, was sold (allegedly) to the former Qatari Prime Minister, Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber Al Thani, for a whopping 179 million dollars at Christie’s, the highest amount ever paid for an artwork at an auction, this May in New York.

Criticism: These famous paintings have faced quite a mouthful of slurs — they are a study in misogyny and colonialism, say hardened critics. Picasso’s womanising reputation didn’t help — nor did the fact that his second wife was nearly 43 years younger.

Also In The News: Because of the ridiculous blurring of the cubist breasts by New York’s Fox TV in a report of the recent sale of the masterpiece, a move which triggered a wave of reproach from viewers.

Trivia: As a young, struggling painter, Picasso is known to have set his own drawings ablaze to keep himself warm in his Montmartre house in Paris. Talk about not having money to burn!

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