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This waif-like girl is among Picasso’s cast of people from the margins of society. A melancholic mood is conveyed with veils of paint. The chemise accentuates, rather than disguises, the slenderness of the girl’s body that the painter shows as sexually desirable. She is fragile, perhaps sickly. Her delicate pink flesh evokes the skin-colour that Picasso’s friend Guillaume Apollinaire identified among street performers: ’that purplish pink one finds on the cheeks of certain fresh young girls close to death’.

May 2004