Myths, Muses and Models: The Femme-Fleur
Myths, Muses and Models: The Femme-Fleur

The Femme-Fleur

In a 1946 portrait, Pablo Picasso transformed the painter Françoise Gilot into a flower, using a metaphor that had been circulating in avant-garde art for decades. Henri Matisse, for example, used the "femme-fleur" to re-imagine his female models as forces of generative energy. His fusion of femininity with plant life can be considered as both inspiration for and response to the Surrealist reimagining of the body as an open-ended field of poetic associations. The historical roles of actual female models now celebrated as romantic “muses” warrants a more sustained look, alongside women Surrealists like Dorothea Tanning whose hybrid bodies find roots in this "femme-fleur" archetype.

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