Today's Memory

Today’s Memory – Marie Laurencin

Marie Laurencin

31 October 1883, Paris – 8 June 1956, Paris


Marie Laurencin was a French painter, printmaker, and stage designer known for her delicate portraits of elegant, vaguely melancholic women. Her work include paintings, watercolors, drawings and prints.


Laurencin studied art at the Humbert Academy in Paris (1903–1904). Among her fellow students was Georges Braque, who, with Pablo Picasso, soon developed the style of painting known as Cubism. She met Picasso in 1907, and she consequently became involved in the avant-garde milieu of the Cubists. She is known as one of the few female Cubist painters, with Sonia Delaunay, Marie Vorobieff, and Franciska Clausen.

Les Jeunes Filles
Le Bal élégant
Spanish Dancers
The Kiss

Although Laurencin exhibited with the Cubist artists, she didn’t herself exploit the movement’s idiom. While her work shows the influence of Cubist painters Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque, who was her close friend, she developed a unique approach to abstraction which often centered on the representation of groups of women and female portraits.

Portrait de Jean Cocteau


Portrait of Baroness Gourgaud with Pink Coat
Portrait of Mademoiselle Chanel

Her paintings typically are stylized depictions of pale, dark-eyed women and girls painted in pastel colours. The American expatriate writer Gertrude Stein, an important patron of avant-garde artists, was one of the first buyers of Laurencin’s work.

Portrait of Madame Paul Guillaume
Jeune Fille à la Guirlande de Fleurs
Two Women with Musical Instrument
The Rehearsal

Laurencin was romantically involved with the poet Guillaume Apollinaire for several years and produced several portraits of him and of their mutual friends, such as Group of Artists (1908).

Réunion à la campagne (Apollinaire et ses amis)

She illustrated several books, including a 1930 edition of Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland. Her stage designs included scenery for the Ballets Russes (1924) and the Comédie Française (1928).


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