Woman With A Cigarette is a genre painting that was created by Pablo Picasso in 1901, during his Blue Period characterized by melancholy and sadness. The painting showcases the image of a lone woman holding a cigarette and is currently held at The Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia. It belongs to the group of Picasso’s works which draws inspiration from women alone in cafes, smoking or drinking.
Interestingly, the theme of women alone in public spaces was explored by many painters associated with the Impressionists before Picasso became known for it. On another note, Woman with a Book is one of Picasso’s famous portraits of his lover Marie-Thérèse Walter paying tribute to the Neoclassical master Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres. Additionally, Olga Khokhlova who was Picasso’s first wife posed for him as she hated his Cubist approach as seen notably in Les Demoiselles d’Avignon.
Despite being part of Picasso’s lesser-known paintings, “Woman With A Cigarette” received much attention due to its powerful imagery that captures both vulnerability and self-sufficiency simultaneously portrayed through an everyday act such as smoking. Its depiction also raises questions about femininity, independence and societal norms which remain relevant today.