Pablo Picasso (Spanish, Malaga 1881–1973 Mougins, France), Painter and His Model, 1914. Oil on canvas, 22 13/16 × 22 in. (58 × 55.9 cm). Musée national Picasso – Paris. Dation Pablo Picasso, 1979© 2016 Estate of Pablo Picasso / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Image © RMN-Grand Palais / Art Resource, NY, photograph: René-Gabriel Ojéda.

An example of the artist’s lifelong fascination with the motif of painter and model, this picture, painted on an ordinary dish towel, was discovered only after Picasso’s death, when his studios were inventoried. The work is in many ways an art historical anomaly: painted in 1914, at the height of Cubism’s success, it exemplifies an entirely different style known as classicizing figuration, which Picasso would fully embrace a few years later, at the conclusion of World War I. Shortly after he started to color in the female nude, the studio wall, and the landscape painting on the easel, Picasso simply stopped working on the picture, leaving visible a great deal of underdrawing. Despite this, scholars disagree as to whether Painter and His Model is a true work in progress, one whose completion remains unfulfilled and unintentional, or a work whose irresolution was deliberate. 

This work is exhibited in the "Unfinished: Thoughts Left Invisible" exhibition, on view through September 4th, 2016. #MetBreuer