Factory at Horta de Ebro

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Pablo Picasso, Factory at Horta de Ebro, 1909
By KATHERINE GRABOWSKY

Picasso was never known for conventionality. His introduction of cubism in 1907 brought his paintings to life through his disregard to perspective. The idea of cubism was to emphasize the three-dimensionality of the object painted, while also promoting the idea that a canvas is two-dimensional. This unique style shown in Factory at Horta de Ebro, painted in 1909, exemplifies Picasso’s straying from the typical approach. This was painted after Picasso’s second visit to the Quiet Southern Spanish village on the Aragon border. He spent seven months with Manuel Pallares in the village for first visit in 1898. The second visit in 1909 inspired him to create this early cubist painting.

Picasso ignores perspective by placing the further buildings above the buildings in the foreground rather than behind. The paintings does not have one set viewpoint, but instead can be looked at from all different angles. It seems to move with the eye instead of representing a snapshot in time. On first glance, the land’s topography fuses together with the architecture, bringing civilization and nature together. He shows no difference in color or style between the ground and the buildings. The boxy feel continues to the sky, diluting any depth behind the mountains and buildings. The palm fronds keep relax the landscape by offering a curved pattern in contrast to the geometric shapes that occupy the rest of the canvas.

As for color, even the orange Picasso uses seems monochromatic. Black dilutes the green and gray, and brown dilutes the orange. From left to right, light slowly creeps in and brightens the landscape. The light source seems to come from the right, as gray occupies most of the left sides of the buildings. Though the light patches brighten the painting, the gray overshadow keeps the colors dark and gloomy.


Picasso’s Factory at Horta de Ebro takes an unconventional look at the already unusual cubism style. The perspective takes away any literal depth to the painting, but a viewer can get lost in the complexity for hours. From the form and the geometric shapes to dull colors mixed with fiery orange, Picasso’s painting stands out in the world of cubism. 

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