Meraud Guevara, Seated Woman with Small Dog c.1939. Tate. © Estate of Meraud Guevara.

Studio Practice

Henri Matisse, Studio Interior  c.1903–4

This painting shows a corner of Matisse’s apartment in Paris, where he lived from 1899 to 1907. The subjects of domestic interiors and still lifes (such as the carefully arranged objects on the small stand here) were typical of Matisse’s works of the time. The sculpture casts on top of the wardrobe were his own work. He was attending life drawing and sculpture classes and much of his work in this period focuses on subject matter relating to his studio.

Gallery label, October 2016

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artworks in Studio Practice

Marie-Louise Von Motesiczky, Still Life with Sheep  1938

This was painted in a small hotel in Amsterdam. Von Motesiczky, and her mother, who were Jewish, fled to the city from their home in Vienna following the annexation of Austria by Nazi Germany, in 1938. She posed objects on an ironing board, the most convenient surface available to her. The two eighteenth-century Chinese sheep ornaments were ‘familiar from our Viennese surroundings’. Von Motesiczky later recalled her motivation ‘to paint something beautiful...to paint and to dream’.

Gallery label, February 2022

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artworks in Studio Practice

Pablo Picasso, Head of a Woman (Fernande)  1909

This sculpture is of Fernande Olivier, an artist and model. Olivier and Picasso were in a relationship for seven years after meeting in Paris in 1904. A number of works Picasso made during this time were inspired by Olivier. The flat, squared surface of Head of a Woman reflects the cubist style he explored from 1907–09. Picasso made two plaster casts of this sculpture, from which at least sixteen bronze examples were cast.

Gallery label, November 2019

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artworks in Studio Practice

Dod Procter, Morning  1926

In 1922, Procter began to paint a series of simple, monumental portraits of young women that she knew. Emphasising the fall of light across the figures, Proctor gave them a powerful presence. This painting features Cissie Barnes, the sixteen-year-old daughter of a fisherman from Newlyn in Cornwall. This village was home to Procter for most of her working life. This painting was voted 'Picture of the Year' at the 1927 Summer Exhibition, a yearly show at the Royal Academy in London. It was bought for the nation by the Daily Mail newspaper. The popularity of the painting led to its being displayed in New York, followed by a tour of Britain.

Gallery label, August 2020

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artworks in Studio Practice

Marie Laurencin, Portraits (Marie Laurencin, Cecilia de Madrazo and the Dog Coco)  1915

Laurencin painted this portrait using simplified forms and a limited palette of blue, pink and grey. The artist was part of a group of cubist painters working in Paris around 1911. She chose, however, not to follow the abstracted treatment of the body that many of her cubist friends adopted. This picture was painted in Madrid in 1915. Laurencin moved to Spain with her husband, German painter Otto von Wätjen, following the outbreak of the First World War. It depicts Cecilia, the daughter of the Spanish painter Federico de Madrazo, and the artist herself, shown on the left.

Gallery label, September 2019

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artworks in Studio Practice

Georges Braque, Guitar and Jug  1927

Braque used traditional artists’ props such as guitars, jugs and glasses to experiment with composition. The familiar objects in Guitar and Jug are presented in sombre colours of brown and grey. He uses fluid lines to create the objects, their softness set against a rigorous structure. The items may also have symbolic meaning. The guitar may suggest artistic harmony. The apples, branch and glass could celebrate the abundance of nature. Braque’s interest in depicting a variety of materials and textures is also clear. In this work he includes wood, glass, fabric, organic elements and wallpaper.

Gallery label, August 2020

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artworks in Studio Practice

Giorgio Morandi, Still Life  1946

Morandi’s still life features a number of household objects. He often included the same selection of familiar items in his works. He kept a supply of vases, bottles and jars in his studio to use in his still life paintings. In this work, the objects lose their domestic purpose, becoming sculptural objects. Through repeated studies of the same items, Morandi creates a sense of timelessness. His use of earthy and muted colours was inspired by his native Bologna in northern Italy. This connects the artist's paintings to his own life and surroundings.

Gallery label, August 2020

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artworks in Studio Practice

Alberto Giacometti, Interior  1949

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artworks in Studio Practice

Pierre Bonnard, The Bowl of Milk  c.1919

Bonnard painted this work in the south of France. He moved there during the First World War with his partner Marthe de Méligny, pictured here. This view is of the room they rented. Light reflected from the sea pours through the balcony window. The strong light leaves many details in shadow, including de Méligny’s face and the cat awaiting its milk. Preparatory drawings show Bonnard testing a variety of details and poses before he brought them together in the final painting.

Gallery label, February 2020

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artworks in Studio Practice

Meraud Guevara, Seated Woman with Small Dog  c.1939

The woman in this painting dominates the steep, angled space. She would not fit in the interior if she were to stand. This creates a sense of uncertainty for the viewer. Guevara made a number of precise and realistic paintings of women, in which they dominate the space. This gives the viewer a strange and uneasy perspective. Here, a sense of mystery is suggested by the imaginary view. This is achieved by placing the room high above the landscape, the open doorway behind, and the strange, but deliberate, flash of orange beside the door.

Gallery label, April 2021

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artworks in Studio Practice

Georges Braque, Glass on a Table  1909–10

Traditional painting often presents a single viewpoint. Artists like Georges Braque and Pablo Picasso explored new ways of representing reality. They brought different views together in the same picture. The resulting paintings appear fragmented and abstracted. They imitate the fleeting nature of sight. In this painting of a glass and pears on a table, these different perspectives might appear to obscure the subject matter. But Braque believed that by breaking up familiar items and re-ordering them, he could get closer to a true likeness of the object.

Gallery label, July 2019

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artworks in Studio Practice

Vanessa Bell, Still Life on Corner of a Mantelpiece  1914

Vanessa Bell was a central figure of the Bloomsbury group, a group of artists, writers and intellectuals, formed in 1905. This mantelpiece was in Vanessa Bell’s house at 46 Gordon Square in London, where the group would often meet. The objects on it include handmade paper flowers from the Omega Workshops, a design company founded by Roger Fry, a member of the group. Bell’s use of an unconventional low viewpoint, fractured, abstracted forms and bright colours show her exploring techniques associated with Fauvism and Cubism.

Gallery label, March 2018

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artworks in Studio Practice

Georges Braque, Clarinet and Bottle of Rum on a Mantelpiece  1911

A horizontal clarinet lies on top of a mantelpiece at the centre of this playful, geometric work. In front stands a bottle with the characters RHU, the first three letters of the French word for rum. The word VALSE (waltz) indicates sheet music, reinforced by fragments of treble and bass clefs found throughout the image. A scrolled form in the lower right could represent part of the mantelpiece, or a violin-head. Braque painted this during a summer he spent with Picasso in the Pyranees. They worked together depicting similar scenes and objects in the same style.

Gallery label, April 2022

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artworks in Studio Practice

Christian Schad, Self-Portrait  1927

Schad claimed that 'no-one is entirely free from narcissism.' This self-portrait is loaded with symbols connected to identity and appearance. The artist is positioned in front of the woman, but only partially conceals her nakedness. In contrast to the naked woman, Schad wears a transparent shirt. A narcissus flower, indicating vanity, leans towards the artist. The woman’s face is scarred with a sfregio, a wound inflicted as a punishment by Neapolitan criminals. The work contains violent and erotic suggestions. Despite this, Schad said, 'it is not about the aftermath of heat and passion but is meant as an allegory of narcissism.’

Gallery label, August 2020

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artworks in Studio Practice

Marie-Louise Von Motesiczky, View from the Window, Vienna  1925

This painting depicts a view of roofs and facades seen from the artist’s fourth-floor flat in Vienna, where she lived during the first half of the 1920s. The cupola in the upper centre of the painting is part of the Johann Strauss Theatre, famous for its performances of light opera. Technically this painting makes a shift in the artist’s work. Previously she had applied paint in dabs which created a mottled effect. This work is painted with rather freer brush strokes. The elongated vertical format is characteristic of von Motesiczky’s canvases of the period.

Gallery label, October 2016

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artworks in Studio Practice

Amedeo Modigliani, The Little Peasant  c.1918

This is one of a small group of paintings that Modigliani made of young people. The artist inscribed the work's title on the bottom right of the canvas, identifying the sitter as a 'peasant boy'. However, there is some doubt over the accuracy of the title. The same model seems to appear in another painting titled 'The Young Apprentice'. Modigliani had long been influenced by the painter Paul Cézanne (1839–1906). This painting was probably inspired by Cézanne's paintings of country workers. Cézanne’s subjects were also positioned in the centre of the canvas and painted in mostly blue tones.

Gallery label, August 2020

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artworks in Studio Practice

Alberto Giacometti, Seated Man  1949

Like his sculptures, Giacometti’s portraits emerged from an intense scrutiny of his subjects, and a process of continually reworking the image in order to record his shifting visual impressions. Seated Man depicts his brother Diego, one of Giacometti’s most frequent models, but even this familiar face became an object of investigation and discovery for the artist, who commented ‘When he poses for me I don’t recognise him’.

Gallery label, July 2012

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artworks in Studio Practice

André Derain, The Painter and his Family  c.1939

This symbolic painting represents the life of an artist. It is an invented scene. Despite usually working alone in his studio, here Derain paints himself surrounded by his family. Through the deployment of figures, animals, and objects Derain expresses his personal philosophy as an artist. His wife reads a book of myths, signalling their shared literary interests. His niece holds a dog, a medieval symbol of loyalty. His sister-in-law serves refreshments, her pose recalling earlier European paintings which had influenced Derain. The animals and fruit are also symbolic, alluding to various esoteric and artistic themes.

Gallery label, July 2021

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artworks in Studio Practice

Pablo Picasso, Dish of Pears  1936

The dishes of pears in this still life are painted in a flat, graphic style. The white area behind the fruit was added as the final layer of the painting. It creates a sense of space behind the pears instead of a flat background of colour. Thick black lines separate the different elements in the painting. The result is an almost abstract pattern of colours and shapes. Picasso painted still life subjects throughout his career and in a range of different styles.

Gallery label, September 2019

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artworks in Studio Practice

Christian Schad, Agosta, the Pigeon-Chested Man, and Rasha, the Black Dove  1929

The people in this painting directly return our gaze. Schad met the two sitters at a funfair in north Berlin in 1929. They were performers in a sideshow act there. Their roles involved displaying their bodies as ‘exotic’ or ‘other’ to funfair visitors. We might ask whether the painting is critical of this objectification. It could also be seen as perpetuating the voyeurism and discrimination experienced by Agosta and Rasha. Schad's commitment to painting reality reflects his association with the New Objectivity. This artistic movement combined social criticism with a near-photographic realism.

Gallery label, August 2020

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artworks in Studio Practice

Sir Anthony Caro, Table Piece CCLXVI  1975

Table Piece CCLXVI is constructed on a human scale. At just over two metres wide it is comparable to the width of a person’s outstretched arms. Caro has observed that: ‘all sculpture is to do with the physical – all sculpture takes its bearings from the fact that we live inside our bodies and that our size and stretch and strength is what it is’.

Gallery label, October 2016

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artworks in Studio Practice

Georges Braque, Mandora  1909–10

Braque’s interest in collecting musical instruments is captured in this painting. Here he depicts a small stringed instrument called a madora. The painting is made up of different geometric shapes, making it appear fragmented. This style suggests a sense of rhythm, matching the musical subject of the painting. Braque explained that he liked to include instruments in his cubist works. ‘In the first place because I was surrounded by them, and secondly because their plasticity, their volumes, related to my particular concept of still life’.

Gallery label, August 2020

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artworks in Studio Practice

Art in this room

T03889: Studio Interior
Henri Matisse Studio Interior c.1903–4
T04850: Still Life with Sheep
Marie-Louise Von Motesiczky Still Life with Sheep 1938
L01712: Head of a Woman (Fernande)
Pablo Picasso Head of a Woman (Fernande) 1909
N04270: Morning
Dod Procter Morning 1926
N04726: Portraits (Marie Laurencin, Cecilia de Madrazo and the Dog Coco)
Marie Laurencin Portraits (Marie Laurencin, Cecilia de Madrazo and the Dog Coco) 1915
N04416: Guitar and Jug
Georges Braque Guitar and Jug 1927

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