Woman with a Fan
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There’s a staggering number of paintings titled Woman With a Fan.

This adds accessorized bourgeoisie women to Cubism’s favorite subjects, alongside violins, vases, and newspapers.  However, the woman in this piece holds a special place in Metzinger’s heart. The figure seen here is probably Metzinger’s wife, Lucie Soubiron, who he married in 1909.

To achieve the trippy effects of this painting, Metzinger employed what he called “mobile perspective.”  Over an extended period of time, the painting would be executed at different angles and positions relative to the subject.  The end result: a painted collage of facets like that of a jewel. The picture is psychedelic upon first glance, as profile and frontal views are displayed all at once. He would leave the viewer to fill in the blanks and make sense of what he constructed.  Doesn’t it look like he melded the fan and the woman into one figure?

This was one of the first works in which Metzinger fully employed color, being preoccupied primarily with line, shape and form to construct his Cubist pieces.  Unlike Picasso and Braque’s later stages in Cubism, the Frenchman kept his work grounded in figurative subjects.

The first owner of Woman with a Fan, Herwarth Walden, was the founder of the Galerie der Sturm (and its associated magazine) in Berlin, and one of the biggest promoters of the abstract movements of the 20th century.  He has close ties to German Expressionism and was a avid supporter of Cubism, Orphism, and Dadaism, supporting them all through displaying the styles in his curated gallery.  Walden himself was no slouch: he was a poet and playwright, making three novels and eight plays.  Despite being a steadfast left-winger and Communist, he ironically died in a Stalinist prison at the age of 62, probably for something small like forgetting to salute or pissing off the wrong neighbor.




  1. “Herwarth Walden (1879-1941).” n.d. American Gothic, Grant Wood: Analysis. Accessed January 31, 2019.
  2. “Jean Metzinger, Divisionism, Cubism and Post-Cubism.” n.d. Jean Metzinger, Divisionism, Cubism and Post-Cubism. Accessed January 31, 2019.
  3. Metzinger, Jean, Joann Moser, and Daniel Robbins. 1985. Jean Metzinger in Retrospect:Iowa: The Univ. of Iowa Museum of Art.

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Here is what Wikipedia says about Woman with a Fan

La Femme à l'Éventail, or Woman with a Fan, is a painting by the French artist Jean Metzinger. The work was exhibited in 1914 at Moderni Umeni, S.V.U. Mánes, Prague. A 1914 photograph taken at the exhibition in Prague was published in the magazine Zlatá Praha showing Woman with a Fan hanging next to another work by Metzinger known as En Canot (Im Boot, The Boat), 1913. Donated by Mr. and Mrs. Sigmund Kunstadter in 1959, Woman with a Fan forms part of the permanent collection in Gallery 391B (Medieval to Modern European Painting and Sculpture) at the Art Institute of Chicago.

Check out the full Wikipedia article about Woman with a Fan.