Sir,

Would you allow me to show my concern about maintaining your well-deserved prestige?

At first, I thought ‘Les Demoiselles’ was a joke. Yes, you smuggled in two male phalluses into one female genitalia in your little fruit bowl. High comedy, indeed. But, I’ve seen your sketches from April, May and after. And I saw something else.

April. Two men in your scene. Ordinary, everyday crappy prostitution. A banal composition.

May. One man. You? The girls are still rounded.

After. No men now. Just the observer. And the girls are hated.

Anger is the key to ‘Les Demoiselles d’Avignon’, isn’t it? There’s an abject and absolute lack of forgiveness in your illustration.

les_demoiselles_davignon_sketch_april_1907

les_demoiselles_davignon_sketch_may_1907

les_demoiselles_davignon_sketch_3

I will keep this letter short, Sir, and it is time to conclude it.

I accuse you, Sir. In making this accusation I am aware that I am making myself liable to ridicule. I expose myself to that risk voluntarily.

I do not know you, I have never seen you, and I bear you neither ill will nor hatred. The action I am taking is no more than a radical measure to hasten the explosion of discussion.

I have but one passion: to enlighten those who have been kept in the dark; my fiery protest is simply the cry of my very soul. Let your defenders dare, then, to bring me before a court of opinion and let the enquiry take place in broad daylight! I am waiting.

With my deepest respect, Sir.
July 1907.

 

References:

[1] https://www.moma.org/collection/works/79766?locale=en

[2] https://kunstmuseumbasel.ch/en/collection/highlights#&gid=1&pid=22

[3] http://glasstire.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/TL2016_4_Picasso_StudyLadiesOfAvignon-600×451.jpg?bdc2e0

[4] http://www.philamuseum.org/collections/permanent/53852.html?mulR=195557122