Pablo Picasso
(Málaga, 1881-1973, Mougins)
Still Life with Flowers and Lemons, 1941
Oil on canvas, 92 x 73 cm
Signed upper right: Picasso; dated on the back: 8. VII. 1941
Zervos, XI-160
This still life with flowers and lemons was painted, as the artist notes on the back of the picture, on 8 July 1941 in Paris, that is to say, during the occupation and, we can definitely assume, in Picasso’s studio in the Rue des Grands-Augustins. There is no trace here or in other works of this period of any immediate influence from the surroundings, which had been so drastically changed by circumstances. Rather, Picasso resumes an old tradition in still life painting, the object being on a table by the window, a theme he had first handled, with similar dimensions, in Saint-Raphaël on the Riviera in 1919. After the important still lifes of the 1920s, done in a modified, more curved, Cubist manner, the artist here returns to the spiny angular synthetic Cubism of his first treatments of this theme. The chromatic accents are embedded in the clearly articulated black structure of the picture, the brilliant spots being the deep carmine-red of the table with the yellow lemons in a green bowl and the red-edged flowers in the blue glass vase; the picture possesses a severe reticence typical of other wartime still lifes.