Our Art / Jean Metzinger / Femme au Compotier

Femme au Compotier by Jean Metzinger
Femme au Compotier by Jean Metzinger

Femme au Compotier, 1918

Jean Metzinger

At first this painting looks like an abstract jumble of shifting shapes, but take another look and an elegant female figure emerges. She’s holding an object in her hands (the title tells us it’s a fruit dish), above which her patterned bodice frames her flesh-colored chest and neck. You’ll notice other hints of the setting: a window in a checkered wall, at left, and some three-petalled blossoms near the woman’s head. The artist worked in the Cubist style, a movement in which artists tried to show objects from several points of view simultaneously. For example, the woman’s left arm has three layers, as if we’re seeing three frames of a stop-frame animation of her arm in motion.

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Credit
Yale University Art Gallery, Gift of Polly W. Hamilton in memory of George Heard Hamilton
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