At the beginning of the 20th century, Pablo Picasso’s Montmartre atelier in Paris was a gathering place for Bohemian artists. All the best artists came by. Marie Laurencin was one of them. The French artist is famous as the heroine of Guillaume Apollinaire’s poem Le Pont Mirabeau. Still, she is one of the extremely few women recognized for her independent style in the art circle dominated by men.
Marie Laurencin, born as an illegitimate child in Paris, started learning pottery at a factory and developed her dream as an artist. In 1907, when she had her first private exhibition in Paris, Pablo Picasso introduced her to Guillaume Apollinaire. They fell in love passionately but parted in only five years. Marie Laurencin married a noble German but sought asylum for a few years after the first world war broke out. Her marriage life was not happy. Ultimately, she divorced, returned to Paris in 1921, and focused on art. She was in her prime between the 1920 and 1930s and was a big commercial success. She was affected largely by Cubism and Fauvism, but she did not want to copy them. She developed her own style with fantastic paintings featuring pastel-colored women and animals.
These paintings compressively express the world of peaceful women, which Marie Laurencin pursued. Two women with black eyes sit on the grass. It looks like a theatre stage because of the curtains. The woman wearing a pink skirt on the right is playing the guitar, and the one in the blue dress on the left is gazing somewhere far. Both of them look like they are deep in their thoughts but look peaceful. The grey dog in the middle connects them. They seem as if they are in a warm and peaceful paradise.
There are no men but only women, animals, and music in the peaceful world painted by Marie Laurencin. She would probably have felt that it was men who hurt her and who started wars. In real life, Marie Laurencin loved women and supported female artists. She openly announced that she is an illegitimate child and bisexual and proudly announced her paintings describing lesbians. She is a true Bohemian who led an independent life full of freedom.