Picasso's Les Demoiselles d'Avignon book has long been recognized as one of the most significant paintings of the twentieth century. This volume brings together essays from a variety of methodological and topical perspectives.
Yves-Alain Bois finds in the painting the presence of trauma and opens the way to a psychoanalytical exploration. Tamar Garb asks what it could mean to women, focusing on Gertrude Stein as one of the painting's first spectators, while Patricia Leighten uses post-colonial theory to explore its conjunction of prostitution and African themes. Christopher Green asks what the confrontation of the European and the non-European could signify and whether this Picasso work can still be meaningfully linked to the grand narrative of modernist history.
Through these various analyses, the contributors explore the power and significance of Les Demoiselles d'Avignon, situating the work within twentieth-century art history as a whole and debates over Primitivism, sexuality, and stylistic change.