Pablo Picasso painted numerous portraits of the many women in his life. The Red Armchair is thought to feature Thérèse Walter who had come into the artist’s life around 1925. The Red Armchair is thought to be the first in a series of paintings of Walter prepared for an exhibition of his work at the Galeries Georges Petit in 1931. Her blond hair, broad features, and voluptuous body can all be detected in the painting.
The Red armchair is a beautiful demonstration of Picasso’s innovative use of Ripolin. Here he mixes Ripolin with oil to produce a wide range of surface effects - crisp brush marks in the yellow background along with a thick but leveled look of the white face and the smooth black outlines of the figure.
As with many of paintings, the elements of the body are placed in unexpected positions offering the spectator a variety of ways to see the figure. The reconfiguration invites the audience to look beyond the immediate surface and reimagine the figure observed.