Henri LaurensSeated Woman c.1926-30

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Artwork details

Henri Laurens (1885‑1954)
Seated Woman
Femme assise
Date c.1926-30
MediumGouache on paper
Dimensionssupport: 301 x 227 mm
Acquisition Bequeathed by Elly Kahnweiler 1991 to form part of the gift of Gustav and Elly Kahnweiler, accessioned 1994
Not on display


Seated Woman was made in Paris at a time when Laurens was beginning to move away from the Cubist style which had characterised his work between 1915-18 towards a more classical idiom. This change can be seen as part of the widespread movement among artists working in Paris in the late 1910s and early 1920s, away from the fragmentation of Cubism towards more naturalistic forms. This so-called 'rappel à l'ordre' ('return to order') has often been interpreted in terms of a desire for stability and tradition after the disruption and chaos of the First World War (see On Classic Ground, pp.11-30).

The earthy red gouache and inscribed lines of Seated Woman recall the decoration of ancient Greek and Roman pots. In addition, the pose of the woman is close to that used by Laurens in a series of sculptures of crouching women which allude to the structure of caryatids, pillars in the form of a female figures found in ancient Greek and Roman architecture (see Hofmann, pp.110-32)… (read more)

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