Portrait of Suzanne Bloch
Portrait of Susanna Bloch – painting by Spanish artist Pablo Picasso in Paris in 1904 by the end of his blue period. The subject, Suzanne Bloch, was a singer known for her interpretations of Wagner and the violinist’s sister, Henri Bloch.
Luminous in the Paris sets, frequented by Picasso in the early 20th century, Susanna Bloch was a Wagnerian singer and violinist sister Henri Bloch. She was introduced to the Spanish artist by the French poet Max Jacob, in 1904, and she sat for a portrait of Picasso in his studio in 13 ruts of Ravignan in Paris between the end of the spring and the early summer of that year. The pen and ink sketch intensified with gouache, and signed and dated by Picasso, preceded the painting; it is now stored in the Neubery Coray collection, in Ascona, Switzerland.
The portrait in oils was described by Louis Marques, a teacher of art history at Unicamp, as exemplary of the “blue period to which it fully belongs.” It was called the last important work of the blue period, although Palau, i Fabra says that it is “difficult to date and defines the stage of transition from one period to another — which in any case was not a sudden change, but a mildly detailed, although unstable, progress” . In the same vein, Denis Chevalier wrote: “Any attempt … so far, the blue period can only lead to errors too accurately.”
The painting, completely filled with a gloomy, sad aura, is presented in monochromatic shades, ranging from blue to blue-green, with the sporadic presence of warmer tones. Nevertheless, it is possible to note that the painting already announces some features of the future transition in the illustrated style of the Spanish painter, foreshadowing cubism. In the words of Camesasca quoted by Marquez: “[…] this portrait is marked by the appearance of reflections on the plastic-color structure of Cezanne’s works, within the limits of ‘post-impressionism, already absorbed by problems that will cause the art to explode’. “\
The painting belonged to Susanna Bloch and was sold by her heirs after her death. Thannhauser Gallery, Munich sold the painting around 1916 to Sally Falk, Mannheim, but his collection was already scattered in 1919, under the supervision of the Paul Cassirer gallery, Berlin and Lady Picasso without a hat, the blue portrait was acquired by the princess Mechthild Lichnovsky, who kept him in her private collection in London. From the English capital, painting went to Lugano in Switzerland, where it was held in the private collection of the Bieber family. The painting remained on deposit at the National Art Gallery in Washington between 1942 and 1946. The following year it was acquired by the Art Museum of San Paulo (MASP), with financial resources donated by Walter Moreira Salles, the founder of Unibanco.