Arty quotes

Les Desmoiselles d'Avignon.

The foundation of Modern Art?
Will Gompertz wrote in “What are you looking at”:

“Les Demoiselles d’Avignon (1907) is the painting that led to Cubism, which in turn led to Futurism, abstract art and much, much more. To this day it continues to be regarded by many contemporary artists as the single most influential painting ever created.”


'Les Demoiselles d'Avignon' has always been a controversial painting, but no more so than when it was first displayed. Even some of Picasso's own artist friends were not very convinced by the painting. When it was put on display in 1916 at an exhibition run by André Salmon, nine years after the painting had been completed; the name of the painting was changed. Picasso had called it 'Le Bordel d'Avignon' (The Brothel of Avignon) however Salmon felt this title would be too controversial and too shocking for the audience of the exhibition, and so he changed it to 'Les Demoiselles d'Avignon'.
At this time the painting was not fully appreciated as a masterpiece like it is today. The painting therefore stayed in Picasso's studio until André Breton pushed him to publish it. It was not until the 1920s that people began to realise the genius and revolutionary qualities of the painting.

The painting was sold to Jacques Doucet in 1924 for 25,000 francs but just a few months later, Doucet had the painting valued at around 250,000 to 300,000 francs. After Doucet's death, the painting was sold on to another private collector. 'Les Demoiselles d'Avignon' was then exhibited in 1937 at the Jacques Seligman and Co. Art Gallery in New York, USA. Later, the Museum of Modern Art bought the painting for the sum of 24,000 US dollars. The painting can still be viewed there today.