“The most important painting of the twentieth century.” This was said of Pablo Picasso’s “Les Demoiselles d’Avignon” before the century was even half over. It remains one of the most original and disturbing works in the history of art.
On February 17, 1901, a young Spanish poet and close friend of Pablo Picasso’s named Carles Casagemas invited several people to a Paris restaurant. After dinner he pulled out a gun, fired at one of his guests -- a model with whom he was in love -- then, having missed her, shot himself.
The beautiful, sad-looking Olga Kokhlova, a dancer with Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes, sits with her right arm draped over the back of a chair, a partially open fan in her lap. The dark floral patterns of her dress and the upholstery stand out against the flat background of pale gold.