The lovely little musée Marmottan, in Paris’ 16th Arrondissement, has an exhibit of watercolors by Marie Laurencin until June 30, 2013. This is the first retrospective of her work in France. Laurencin (1883 – 1956) was a French printmaker and painter. She trained as a porcelain painter in Sèvres and then learned oil painting. Laurencin was an important member of the avant-garde movement in early 20th century Paris. She was friends with Pablo Picasso, Georges Braque, and the muse of poet Guillaume Apollinaire. Her version of cubism was more sinuous than the work of her contemporaries. Laurencin’s works often featured portraits of women or groups of women. In addition to curves, her work was different from her male contemporaries due to her choice of delicate pastels. Many of the 92 works in this exhibit are from the Marie Laurencin Museum in Nagano, Japan.
There’s a great quotation attributed to her, “Pourquoi peindre les poissons morts, des oignons, ou des verres de bières? Les femmes sont tellement plus belles,” (poorkwah pandruh lay pwahsohn mor days onyon ew day vare duh beeair / lay fam sohn tellmehn bell) which means “Why should I paint dead fish, onions, and beer glasses? Women are so much prettier.”