Advanced Search

K-12 Educator
K-12 Student
Museum Visitor
UMMA Docent
UMMA Staff
University Faculty
University Student
Between and Mortarboard


UMMA Object Specific Fields






Query builder

32 Items in this Learning Collection
Collection Object
Collection Object
Collection Object
Collection Object
Collection Object
Collection Object
Collection Object
Collection Object
Collection Object
Collection Object
Collection Object
Collection Object

Copyright
All Rights Reserved ()

Two Girls Reading (Deux Enfants Lisant)

Accession Number
1994/1.67

Title
Two Girls Reading (Deux Enfants Lisant)

Artist(s)
Pablo Picasso

Artist Nationality
Spanish (culture or style)

Object Creation Date
March 28, 1934

Medium & Support
oil on canvas

Dimensions
43 3/8 in x 35 3/16 in x 3 in (110.17 cm x 89.38 cm x 7.62 cm);43 3/8 in x 35 3/16 in x 3 in (110.17 cm x 89.38 cm x 7.62 cm);36 5/16 in x 28 3/4 in (92.2 cm x 73 cm)

Credit Line
Gift of The Carey Walker Foundation

Label copy
March 28, 2009
Picasso chose to depict this quiet and contemplative subject with strident colors and distorted forms. Part of the reason may lie in his relationship to the two models. The figure on the left is undoubtedly Marie-Thérèse Walter, the twenty-three-year-old woman who gave birth to Picasso’s daughter Maïa a year and a half after the painting was completed. The identity of the figure on the right is less clear. Some scholars believe that it is Walter’s sister; others claim that it is Picasso’s first wife, the ballerina Olga Koklova. If the sitter was Olga Koklova, it is very unlikely that she and Walter posed together, as both were jealous rivals for Picasso’s affections. This imaginary portrait is perhaps explained by the memoirs of Picasso’s postwar mistress, Françoise Gilot. In her account of her life with Picasso, she relates that one of his most persistent sexual fantasies involved two women of opposite but complementary features, one cold and controlling, light-skinned and blonde, and the other dark, excitable, and sensuous.

Subject matter
Two girls in an embrace read a book together. The figure at the viewer's left is Picasso's mistress at the time, Marie-Thérèse Walter. The other figure is thought to be either Olga Koklova, his wife, or Marie-Thérèse's sister. The scene suggests intimacy, yet the distored shapes and vibrant colors evoke a separateness, distance, and give the piece a melancholic feel.

Physical Description
Two girls, depicted in bold geometric shapes and block colors, reading a book together. The figure seated at viewer's right, slightly taller, is green and wearing yellow. The figure at viewer's left has a face of blue and white and is clothed in red resting her clasped hands upon an open book.

Primary Object Classification
Painting

Primary Object Type
figure painting

Additional Object Classification(s)
Painting

Rights
If you are interested in using an image for a publication, please visit http://umma.umich.edu/request-image for more information and to fill out the online Image Rights and Reproductions Request Form.

Keywords
Cubist
abstraction
modern and contemporary art
oil painting (technique)
oil paintings (visual works)
reading
women (female humans)

24 Related Resources

Tour: Greetings!
(Part of: Touring & Teaching)
Adolescence
(Part of 7 Learning Collections)
European Primitivisms
(Part of 12 Learning Collections)
Girlhood
(Part of 9 Learning Collections)
Mothers and Children
(Part of 10 Learning Collections)
Two Girls, One Canvas
(Part of: Screen Arts and Cultures, Fall 2009 Project)
Spanish Avant-Garde
(Part of 2 Learning Collections)
Kindergarten Tour: Shape Up
(Part of: Visit UMMA: Curricular Tour Descriptions for Teachers)
Prepare for Your Visit to UMMA
(Part of: Pre-Visit Materials)
Kindergarten: Shape Up! Colors and Shapes
(Part of: Docent Curricular Tours)
Write for Understanding Tour Overview
(Part of: Writing + Art Enrichment Activities)
Writing Activity: Visual Analysis
(Part of: Writing + Art Enrichment Activities)
Greetings Tour
(Part of: Docent Thematic Tours)
I Am Not Myself Tour
(Part of: Docent Thematic Tours)
High School: Realism to Abstraction
(Part of: Docent Curricular Tours)
PAST - Musical Notation
(Part of: FFW Lower Level Study Cases     )
Being Design
(Part of: Being Design)
Translate-a-thon: Asian Languages
(Part of: 2019 Translate-a-thon)

& Author Notes

All Rights Reserved