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About This Artwork
Mother and Child, 1921
Oil on canvas
56 1/4 x 68 in. (142.9 x 172.7 cm)
signed and dated l.r.: "Picasso / 21"
Restricted gift of Maymar Corporation, Mrs. Maurice L. Rothschild, and Mr. and Mrs. Chauncey McCormick; Mary and Leigh Block Fund; Ada Turnbull Hertle Endowment; through prior gift of Mr. and Mrs. Edwin E. Hokin, 1954.270
In 1917 Picasso traveled to Rome to design sets and costumes for Sergei Diaghilev’s famed Ballets Russes. Deeply impressed by the ancient and Renaissance art of that city, he began painting monumental figures inspired by antiquity. His new classical style was influenced by the finely modeled odalisques of Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres and the late, oddly proportioned female nudes of Pierre-Auguste Renoir. This paint-ing was also inspired by Picasso’s own life. Just three years earlier, he had married Olga Koklova, a Russian dancer, with whom he fathered his first child, Paolo, in 1921.
A new father, Picasso made many images of mothers with children: between 1921 and 1923, he produced at least twelve works on this subject, returning to a theme that he had explored during his Blue Period. But whereas those figures are frail and anguished, his classical-period figures, with their sculptural modeling and solidity, are majestic in proportion and feeling. Here an infant sits on its mother’s lap and reaches up to touch her. The mother, dressed in a Grecian gown, gazes intently at her child. Behind them stretches a simplified background of sand, water, and sky. Picasso’s treatment of the mother and child is not sentimental, but the relationship between the figures expresses a serenity and stability that characterized his own life at this time.
— Entry, The Essential Guide, 2013, p.264.
Paris, Galeries Paul Rosenberg, 1922.
New York, Art Center, Memorial Exhibition of Representative Works Selected from the John Quinn Collection, January 7–30, 1926, p. 8, cat. 19, as Maternity.
New York, Brummer Galleries, Exhibition of Prints, Paintings and Sculpture from the John Quinn Collection, March 1926.
Chicago, Art Institute, Gallery of Art Interpretation: Presenting the Art Institute's Picassos, September–December 1955, no cat.
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Fort Worth Art Center Museum and Dallas Museum of Fine Arts, Picasso: Two Concurrent Retrospective Exhibitions, February 8–March 26, 1967, p. 46, cat. 31 (ill.), as Mother and Child on a Beach.
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Der Querschnitt 10 (1929), p. 717 (ill.).
Cahiers d’Art 3-5 (June 1932), n.p. (ill.), as Femme et enfant au bord de la mer.
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Art Institute of Chicago, Annual Report (1967–1968), p. 23.
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Fermigier, André, Picasso (Le Livre de Poche) (Paris: Libraire Générale Française, 1969), p. 158, fig. 98, as Femme et enfant au bord de la mer.
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10X Picasso, exh. cat. (Düsseldorf: Kunstsammlung Nordhein-Westfalen, 1977), p. 34 (ill.).
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Weisner, Ulrich, Picassos Klassizismus: Werke von 1914–1934, exh. cat. (Bielefeld, Germany: Kunsthalle Bielefeld, 1988), p. 325, fig. 51a, as Mutter und Kind, Maternité.
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Realismo mágico: Franz Roh y la pintura europea, 1917-1936, exh. cat. (Spain: IVAM Centre Julio González, 1997), p. 67 (ill.), as Maternidad.
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Paul Rosenberg (1881–1959), Paris, acquired directly from the artist, by 1922 [letter from Alexandre Rosenberg of October 28, 1975 in curatorial file]; sold to John Quinn (1870–1924), New York, June 1922 [invoice of June 12, 1922 in curatorial file]; Quinn estate, 1924–1926 [New York 1926]; sold to Paul Rosenberg, Paris [letter mentioned above]; by exchange to Dr. Gottlieb Friedrich von Reber (1880–1959), Lausanne, by December 1926 [letter mentioned above; Schürer 1926]; sold to Paul Rosenberg, New York, June 9, 1953 [letter mentioned above]; sold to the Art Institute, 1954.