Nude Woman in a Red Armchair
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jtucker's picture


Pablo Picasso couldn't resist the seductive allure of the fairer sex...and had quite a few notches on his bedpost to prove it.

This is just one of many paintings Picasso made of his mistress Marie-Thérèse Walter. When their affair began, Walter was just seventeen years old, while Picasso already had forty-five years under his belt (and many other experiences in that region, too). Besides being totally depraved, I am pretty sure that it's also illegal. But while we might want to hate on the cradle robbing, some of Picasso’s greatest works came from the loving embrace of this underage muse.

The expression "Don’t sh*t where you eat" must have been a foreign concept to Picasso, because he moved Marie-Thérèse into an apartment just across the street from where he and his wife resided. This affair lasted for eight years before Picasso’s wife Olga uncovered his philandering. That same year, Marie-Thérèse gave birth to one of Picasso’s four children, Maya. All was well for these two lovebirds until Picasso’s eyes yet again wandered to another woman, Dora Maar. Rumor has it that when Marie-Thérèse found out about Dora, the two woman got into a physical fight for Pablo's love. Picasso later recalled it as "one of his choicest memories.” Me-ow.

While Picasso always represented Marie-Thérèse with bright colors and a joyful vibe, he may have been glossing over some things. Four years after Picasso’s death, Marie-Thérèse hung herself.

This painting is one of Picasso’s earliest moves towards cubism. Picasso wasn't just randomly abstracting forms. Many of his wonky forms actually have a deeper meaning and alternate images hidden within the cacophony of color and shapes. For instance, there are two faces within this woman’s head. The blue half is actually another profile of a face about to engage in a loving smooch with the lady of the hour. With Picasso, there's always more than meets the eye, and it's usually something to do with sex.