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“Rendezvous (The Embrace)" Pablo Picasso

fragment

1900

Oil on canvas 52,5 х 55,7 cm

Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts, Moscow, Russia

fragment

 

In 1992 Katerina Ashche got her first job. She was a floor cleaner in the Moscow Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts.

«Actually it was the best job I ever had. I had to arrive at 8am (of course, I was always late and sometimes had to come by taxi). Every morning I arrived at the museum and walked into my three halls. Each cleaner was responsible for fixed halls. Mine were the ones with Picasso, Monet, and Renoir. I walked in, I was alone, I had my bucket and my mop and two hours ahead to wash the floors. The alarm system was off to allow cleaning close to the paintings. There were only the paintings, my meditative work and me. I was the richest person in the world – for 730 hours a year one of the best collections of the Impressionists and Post-impressionists was mine. I didn’t look at them as the visitors look at the paintings. The same as you don’t look at the faces of the people you love but see every day. But I still know every centimetre of every painting. They were just part of my life.

So one day I hit the Picasso painting with my left elbow. It’s a small painting and at that time it wasn’t covered with glass. I was moving backward cleaning the floor with the mop and... oops. So now in the upper left corner on the grey background, to the left of the head of the man you can see a small imprint of my elbow (1.5 x 1.7 cm). And here you can see the elbow in the live performance."

“Rendezvous (The Embrace)” Pablo Picasso

1900

Oil on canvas 52.5 х 55.7 cm

Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts, Moscow, Russia

 

1900 was the first time when Picasso arrived in Paris. One of the first works of this period considered to be a small painting "The Rendezvous" (1900). During these years, Picasso often turned to the subject of a rendezvous as a metaphor of intimacy. Two embracing people depicted in the interior make the composition complete. All the minor details are omitted. The figures themselves are bold and expressive color spots. Their embraces have no sensuality or romance. On the contrary, the atmosphere of the painting echoes the future drama, giving a banal genre scene special significance. It seems that Picasso deliberately sought to strengthen his impressions from the contemplation of suffering. His Parisian experience in conjunction with the Spanish tradition allowed the artist to develop the theme of the proud and lofty poverty squalor in which acute sound sense of hopelessness, the drama of existence for those who belong to the "bottom" of society. Various embodiments of the subject the artist developed in the works, created between 1901-1904 years. This period in his work called the blue period.

The painting was bought from the artists in 1913 by art collector Sergey Shchukin in Paris. Until 1918 was in his private collection. After the October revolution was nationalized and became a part of the collection of the Moscow Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts alongside with others works by Picasso, Monet, Renoir, Cezanne, Manet, and others.