Another Picasso…but who’s the sitter?

Take a look at the interactive feature in this article by Carol Vogel from the New York Times (October 24, 2012) about what conservators have found under Picasso’s Woman Ironing of ca. 1904.

A partial view of what conservators have found:

12 thoughts on “Another Picasso…but who’s the sitter?

  1. Leo Schiller

    Very interesting. I have been to Guggenheim before, but never seen this painting before.
    If woman with iron reminds me of Impressionism, or being more precise of Post-Impressionism and defiantly being used by artist to portray and exhibit the Impression of difficult life of poor people,
    the work under it, looks more like a portrait made for a friend. It’s more realistic and possibly was just an exercise…

  2. Connor Chilton

    This article was very interesting, and this new find is as well. At the beginning of the article they state that Picasso often reused canvasses and abandoned paintings, and I believe the man found under the Woman Ironing is exactly that. However, I did find it interesting that after the removal of the glue flakes, the picture was not in fact part of his Blue Period, but rather a foreshadowing of his Rose Period.

  3. Robbie O'Donnell

    The article itself was very fascinating in and of itself but the most amazing part I found was that Picasso was only 22 when he painted “Women Ironing”. That is only one year older than I am now which is startling to think about as I am struggling to look for a job right out of college and Picasso at this age was painting masterpieces; it really puts things in perspective. Also the fact that Picasso reused canvases only seems to make sense for an artist who wouldn’t always have a steady stream of revenue and may have seen it easier to just paint over a failed piece than to start on a whole new canvas.

  4. Isaac Whalen

    Well it’s good to see something good come out of some very unfortunate circumstances. Also its interesting to wonder if Picasso himself would have remembered who this man was, if infrared imaging existed in his time. He did live a long time, too bad no one bothered to ask him.

  5. Dominic Morra

    Picasso’s works are so puzzling! “Women Ironing” is a nother great piece from picasso and his use of shape, size, and shaddowing creates a remarkable image. Its interesting how he started, stopped, and reused canvases and still made masterpieces. It’s a shame people try to steal or damage historic work.

  6. Tanner Roe

    The picture found of the man underneath makes one wonder why Picasso gave up so quickly on it. How many other pictures like this one has he not finished? The article made a point to state that Picasso often reused his canvases. I find this interesting because it adds a layer of mystery to his paintings. I do however find it strange that he started the picture of the man around 1904 during one period but the painting of the woman ironing was not painted till late 1904 or 1905 in a different period referred to as his rose period.

  7. Rachel Feola

    I find it interesting that the arguement of who this painting is of is based on something so trivial as which way their hair is parted. And the fact that there is only an estimation as to when the painting was done means the validity of ruling out suspects based merely on date is a little shaky. I think the woman is a beautiful work, but as for what lies beneath, it should still be open to much speculation.

  8. Jessica Vaughan

    I have to disagree with the comment that suggests that Woman Ironing could be classified as an Impressionist piece. This painting reminds me of a Realist work more than an Impressionist one; from what I understand, Impressionist paintings focused a lot on the depiction of light and that doesn’t seem to be a very strong element in this work. Realists often created brutally honest art depicting the everyday struggles of the lower class, and I’m definitely seeing some of that in this painting (the walls are bare, her hair isn’t styled, there appears to be an empty bowl sitting on the table).
    Also, I agree with the comment about how astounding it is that Picasso was only 22 and already creating works of art unlike anything the people of that time had ever seen before. It definitely puts some things into perspective!

  9. Magdalene Wise

    This painting is very interesting. It is incredible that over a hundred years after Picasso painted “Woman Ironing” people still can stare at it and it is as if you are staring at it for the first time. Every time I look at it, something different jumps out at me because of how mesmerizing this piece is. So many questions come to me when I stare at “Woman Ironing” like Who is she? Why does she look frail? What was her life like? But now that conservators have discovered a painting underneath “Woman Ironing” it inspires so many more thoughts and questions about who this man was and why Picasso painted over him.

  10. Emma Whitaker

    Just like the woman in his painting, Picasso was worn down and worried about life. I believe Woman with Iron is a representation of his life at that moment. We can see this by the way he paints the woman, making her look worked out and tired, knowing that Picasso himself was going through some challenges in his own life. It makes sense that with little money to spend on new canvases he would simply paint over some older work of his. Something else that stuck out to me about this painting is that before the year long process of cleaning and restoration after being cut by a thief, the conservator discovered different colors like pink under layers of glue. This is interesting because the Woman Ironing is painted in tones of blue and gray, giving hints of another painting underneath. After reading this article I wonder how many other paintings by Picasso or other famous artists have older pieces underneath them.

  11. Kathleen Elliott

    The technology we have these days to analyze art is amazing. Because technology is constantly changing and improving, we are able to understand art in better, more thorough ways. The recent discoveries of what lay hidden beneath a Picasso masterpiece is just one example of the effect technology has on art and art history. What I found particularly interesting about this article is the effect conservation had on the discussion surrounding “Woman Ironing.” Not only were conservators and historians able to perhaps better pinpoint the date of the painting based on the newly discovered color use, they were able to further their research on the mystery man beneath. Conservation is a huge part of art history. It is necessary to conserve art to the best of our ability so it can be analyzed for many, many more years. When conservation is paired with technology, a lot can be accomplished and discovered.


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