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Absinthe #10 - Picasso Femme au café (Absinthe Drinker) - tenth in a series

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Picasso painted Femme au café during his Blue Period, a term used to define the works he produced between 1901 and 1904 when he painted essentially monochromatic paintings in shades of blue and blue-green. These somber works are now some of his most popular, although he had difficulty selling them at the time.

His career had been promising before 1901 and early in that year he was making "a splash" in Paris. However, as he moved towards subject matter such as society's poor and outcast, and accented with a cool, anguished mood of blue hues, the critics and the public turned away from his works. Members of the public were uninterested in displaying the Blue Period works in their homes. Picasso continued his output, but his financial situation suffered since his pictures, not merely melancholy but profoundly depressed and cheerless, inspired no affection in the public or in buyers.

In choosing austere colour and sometimes doleful subject matter—prostitutes, beggars and drunks—Picasso was influenced by a journey through Spain and by the suicide of his friend Carlos Casagemas. Picasso's psychological state worsened as 1901 continued.

In the latter part of that year, Picasso sank into a severe depression and blue tones began to dominate his paintings. Normally an outgoing socializer, he withdrew from his friends. This bout of depression was to last several years.

Picasso painted several absinthe drinkers during this time, and all look lonely, degenerate, or decrepit.

Other frequent subject matter of the Blue Period include blindness, female nudes and mothers with children. Solitary figures dominate his Blue Period works. Themes of loneliness, poverty and despair pervade the works as well.

Picasso's Blue Period was followed by his Rose Period, as his bout with depression gradually ended, and his psychological state improved, he moved towards more joyful, vibrant works, and emphasized the use of pinks ("rose" in French) and other warm hues to express the shift in mood and subject matter.

Femme au café hangs in the Hermitage Museum, Saint Petersburg, Russia
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Whatever, Mazy, but some of us really, really miss you. Whatever you're up to (no good, maybe?) I hope you are happy and life is treating you well. I just listened to Bittersweet Symphony, and there you were at the top of my mind. Just want to remind you: you are a brave, smart, fantastic person. I bet a lot of people would celebrate your return, if you ever decide to to it. Be well and take care, my friend. :))


I must say, I don't really know why I went down - up? this fairy hole, but as a botanist, herbalist, hedge witchy, wild-crafting sort, I'm always interested in what plant does what.

[Lest the flocks of Blue Meanies decide this constitutes a political / socially divisive / whatever the 'Fracking is Not OK', I've never drunk it, I don't smoke stuff, and mushrooms in my house are for stir fry.]

I had another couple days of paintings and history to share, but apparently my De Nile post was too factual and therefore too political, although I know you read it... and probably the distilled hate post, too... neither of which had anything to do with one another, but folks like to link things they don't like, and knit 'em together into a rope, and hang witches with them.

Both were removed for being too insightful. I mean, inciting too fully. :( I mean, some one doesn't like my brain.

Facts Be Dangerous (sort of like, Here Be Dragons).


I'm digging the Absinthe series, Mazy. I do sell a little of it at the liquor store where I work, but it's a very niche product . . .


Thanks for the great painting and puzzle. The info is very interesting too.. Marina.

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