The Peggy Guggenheim Collection will be closed until further notice
The Poet was painted during the summer of 1911, when Pablo Picasso was working in close association with Georges Braque in the French Pyrenees, and epitomizes the moment in the development of Analytic Cubism when the degree of abstraction was so extreme that objects in the painting are almost unrecognizable. As the title indicates, it is the human form that has been visually dissected and reconstructed. Despite the elusiveness of the visual clues, the viewer can detect a densely articulated central pyramidal figure fused coloristically and texturally with the less detailed ground. Picasso presents multiple views of each object, as if he had moved around it, and synthesizes them into a single compound image. The fragmentation of the image encourages a reading of abstract rather than representational form. The imagined volumes of figure and object dissolve into non-objective organizations of line, plane, light, and color. The continuity of certain lines through the interpenetrating facets creates an illusion of a system of larger planes that also float in this indefinite space yet are securely anchored within a structure. The chromatic sobriety characteristic of works by Picasso and Braque of this period corresponds with the cerebral nature of the issues they address.