Marie Laurencin, Two Young Women, n.d.

L2014 004 001 V0001 600Marie Laurencin (French, 1885–1956), Two Young Women, n.d., oil on canvas, 16 x 13 inches. Gift of José Fernández-Richards, Juan C. Fernández-Richards, and Miguel Fernández-Richards, 2016.027.001

One of the few women practicing art at the beginning of the twentieth century in France, Laurencin was part of a circle of friends that included author and critic Guillaume Apollinaire, Pablo Picasso, and the American ex-patriot poet, novelist, and art patron Gertrude Stein, among other avant-garde personalities. She advocated the view, no longer in favor, that art created by men and women was inherently different. Her style is marked by pastel colors, simple, flat forms, and sweet images of children and women with distinctive egg-shaped faces and dark brown, oversized, almond-shaped eyes. Commentators interpreted this emphasis on her subjects’ eyes, the “windows into the soul,” as a Freudian interest in dreams and the inner world of women.