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Grant went to art school in Paris in 1907, and knew both Matisse and Picasso. Like them he was interested in African sculpture. This interest is echoed here in the figure’s broad hips, tapering legs, flattened round breasts and the simple suggestion of her ribs as well as the hatched patterning of the background.Grant would also have known the writings on African art by Roger Fry, a fellow member of the Bloomsbury Group. Fry argued that what was commonly seen as ‘primitive’ art possessed a raw, erotic passion that had been lost in traditional western painting.

July 2007