La Lecture

La Lecture
Artist Pablo Picasso
Year 1932
Medium Oil on panel
Location Private collection
Dimensions 25.8 in × 20 in
65.5 cm × 51 cm

La Lecture, or reading, is a work that was created by Picasso in January of 1932. It depicts his mistress, Marie-Therese Walter, who has fallen asleep, and has a book that is on her lap. The painting not only was a huge art work, it also led to the demise of Picasso’s marriage, after his wife saw the image, and realized that the painting was not of her face, but of another woman that he was depicting in the art work.

Background of the Piece

Picasso met Walter in 1927 and the kept a secret relationship because of his marriage and because Walter was only 17 at the time. Until La Lecture was created, Picasso did use many of Walter’s features in his other works of art, in the backgrounds, and in soft design features throughout certain works he created. When La Lecture was released, Picasso’s wife realized he had been in another relationship, as she saw the face and noted that it was not of her he had created the art about. La Reve was another work that followed, where Walter was the main focus and main figure in the painting created by Picasso.

Features and Description

The work was created in a period known as the lovestruck period, where Picasso took only one month to create the painting. It is an oil painting using bright colors to depict a nude woman, Walter, who is sleeping in the chair, and holding a book in her lap. Many believe that the image is meant to be a sensual and erotic work of art, and it is created in a very lyrical manner, using the bright colors, the light lines, and an overall airy quality to the painting, are all features that come through when you see the La Lecture by Picasso.

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