Gentlemen's Club - Les Demoiselles d'Avignon

8:00 AM

Gentlemen’s Club

Courtesans and Seductresses Depicted in Art
Curated by Gabbi Fenaroli
Pablo Picasso, Les Demoiselles d'Avignon, 1907
"Women are machines for suffering"
-Pablo Picasso

Originally titled The Brothel of Avigon, Picasso painted this controversial piece in 1907 but did not show it to the public until 1916. Looking past its poor reception, Les Demoiselles d’Avignon opened the way for cubist art. The paintings importance was not fully recognized until the mid 1920s. The painting provoked thought and conversation, each viewer seeing the image from their perspective. The influences from artists like Cezanne are clear. The lines of the woman are not feminine nor beautiful, they are hard and blatant. The figures are full of life though. The violent angles add motion to the painting. Although a fairly flat painting, Picasso defies the norm at the time by using such controversial subjects and distorting the bodies to look animalistic.

Anxiety and fear fill the viewer. These woman are not inviting, they look cruel and unattached. Georges Braque went as far as to say, “"Picasso was drinking turpentine and spitting fire." Most critics agreed with Braque, the painting was ghastly. Picasso does not sugar coat the women’s work; their business is savage and crude. Prostitutes are businesswoman, calculating their earnings as each costumer arrives and leaves. They are prostitutes in a brothel. Picasso doesn’t leave the work open for interpretation. The viewer gets what they pay for - a vulgar and emotionless act.

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