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Perfect Little Girls

1913
Marie Laurencin, French, 1883 - 1956
In the years before World War I, when she was making her name in Paris, Marie Laurencin traveled in the circle of Cubist painters and regularly participated in the group’s exhibitions. Her place in that world and the meaning of her work speak volumes about the question of gender in early twentieth-century modern art. Perfect Little Girls presents a domestic interior with a vase of flowers on a table, a framed portrait of a young woman, and a collection of red-bound books in the Bibliothèque rose series for young readers. The title of Les petites filles modèles, by the Countess of Ségur (Perfect Little Girls, 1858), a humorous account of young female friendship, floats across the books’ spines. Both the painting’s abstract and simplified forms and its fusion of image and word connect it to Cubism. Exploration of a feminine world would be Laurencin’s lifelong artistic preoccupation. ...

Object Details
With Paul Rosenberg, Paris (no. 469); Georges Bénard, Paris [1]; Georges Bernheim, Paris, by 1928 [2]; sold to A. E. Gallatin (1881-1952), New York, by November 1928 [3]; gift to PMA, 1944.1. The preceding information from Daniel Marchesseau, Marie Laurencin, 1883-1956: catalogue raisonné de l'oeuvre peint, 1986, no. 72.2. See Marcel Jouhandeau, Marie Laurencin, Paris, 1928, illus. pl. 3, as "Les petites filles sages", 1914, collection Georges Bernheim.3. Gallatin announced the acquisition in a Gallery of Living Art press release, November 15, 1928 (as "Les Petites filles modèles").

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