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Picasso’s relief constructions, which he began making in 1912–13, extended traditional still life painting into three-dimensional space. This composition is closely related to his paintings of the period: it appears to depict a table top or small sideboard, with a knife, a beer glass, two slices of sausage and a slice of cheese or pâté. This work, however, emphasises that the painting is an object in itself. The incorporation of found objects – in this case, the real upholstery fringe to represent a table - helped to establish a new freedom in the artist’s choice of materials.

April 2009