Also at the MOMA in a back gallery on the fifth floor is this monumental Picasso. It’s so huge, the women are likely bigger than you. No small feat for my SigO who is 6 foot 6. The thing that stops you about this painting is this delicate pink color like cotton candy, wrapping the ladies from floor to ceiling. It’s inviting and fleshy. These prostitutes are inviting and fleshy. Their stare is both a challenge . . . and an invitation. Although Picasso is playing around with the cubism thing here and there in this portrait, I can’t help but think this is a valentine to these women. The background is white and blue, cloud-like to me, and his normal thick black lines are thinner giving these women an ethereal, angelic nature. And then there is that whore with a black eye.
In contrast to these figures is a portrait of his peacefully sleeping lover seen at the Guggenheim in the Thannhauser Collection. Instead of the angular lines above, he is sweeping in his strokes. Her arms are wide arcs, quite different from those sharp elbows above. These curves offer an embrace, a hug to her. The violet color is so delicate you can almost smell the lavender wafting off her as she sleeps. She was 17 when they met and began their secret love affair. Secret. . . because he was already married.