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The jagged forms of Three Dancers convey an explosion of energy. The image is laden with Picasso's personal recollections of a triangular affair, which resulted in the heart-broken suicide of his friend Carlos Casagemas. Love, sex and death are linked in an ecstatic dance. The left-hand dancer in particular seems possessed by uncontrolled, Dionysian frenzy. Her face relates to a mask from Torres Strait, New Guinea, owned by the artist, and points to Picasso's association of 'primitive' forms with expressiveness and sexuality.

August 2004