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Pablo Picasso: Les Femmes d’Alger

Berggruen Museum / Berlin / Art

During the 1950s, Pablo Picasso went frequently to the Louvre, where he paid special attention to Delacroix’s 1834 work Women of Algiers in their Apartment. The sexually charged painting sees Algerian women in their harem, resting lazily on a carpet, smoking a hookah. According to Françoise Gilot’s Life with Picasso (1964), he would visit the painting once a month. “I asked him how he felt about Delacroix,” she writes. “His eyes narrowed and he said, ‘That bastard. He’s really good.”’ In the winter of 1954-55, Picasso set out to create his own version of the painting. The result? 100 studies on paper and a renowned series of 15 oil paintings. Long scattered around the world, the Berggruen exhibition reunites the majority of paintings—a first! Rounding out the show are contemporary works, including some by Algerian artists, who’ve taken inspiration from Les femmes d’Alger. —E.C.

Berggruen Museum Schloßstraße 1, 14059 Berlin, Germany
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