Pablo Picasso’s significant 1958 portrait of Jacqueline Roque as L’Arlésienne is currently on offer at M.S. Rau Antiques. The work presents a brilliant display of the Cubist painter’s mature style, exemplifying his creative acuity throughout his long and prestigious career. The work, which is numbered IV, is the culminating canvas of a series of four he composed in a single day of the young Roque as a woman from Arles. Bringing together Picasso’s life-long obsession with the theme of the Arlésienne and his fixation on the women in his life, the powerful portrait is a poignant example of his creative genius.
Picasso's painting L’Arlésienne clearly pays homage to this important van Gogh series, both in subject and palette. The intense yellows of the background are reminiscent of the most famous of the van Gogh portraits, which is currently in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York).
Yet, the style is wholly and distinctly Picasso. Sharp Cubist forms, boldly applied paint and stark black lines lend the portrait a striking visual impact and delightful vivacity. Even depicted as L'Arlésienne, the subject’s raven-black hair and dark, almond-shaped eyes make her immediately recognizable as Jacqueline Roque, Picasso’s muse who would become his second wife in 1961. She appears time and time again in his late works, unquestionably essential to his creative process. Thus situated, L'Arlésienne becomes a highly personal glimpse into the artist’s life, packed with emotional charge for his lover and longing for the culture of his youth.
M.S. Rau is pleased to present this significant portrait from such a key moment in Picasso’s career. Other notable works currently on offer at the New Orleans-based gallery include an Impressionist view of the Normandy seascape by Claude Monet and a poignant portrait of a fisherman by Vincent van Gogh. Click here to view our entire fine art collection.