Femme au foulard rouge (Woman with Red Scarf) is one of the few oil paintings by Francis Picabia inspired by the Spanish Civil War. The painting was done in 1937, and belongs to what was called the artist’s “green period”, which was characterised by the use of a markedly Expressionist language. Connected to some extent with the cycle of Transparences (Transparencies), the scene depicted in Femme au foulard rouge is outstanding in its magnetism and power, and the face of the woman vies for attention with the other powerful motifs surrounding it. So the entire whole functions as a visual cliché, reminding the viewer of the blatant imagery of Romanesque effigies or film posters. Even considering that Femme au foulard rouge is not one of Picabia’s best-known works, it is a painting of particular interest both for its own artistic characteristics and for its content, which alludes to the Spanish conflict.
Paloma Esteban Leal