While visiting Rome in 1917, Pablo Picasso immersed himself in Greco-Roman art, ushering in his Classical Period (1917–23). Three Women at the Fountain is from a series of drawings Picasso made in preparation for his painting Three Women at the Spring. Inspired by the richly adorned fountains and network of springs at the royal park of Fontainebleu, Three Women at the Fountain depicts a group of river goddesses gathered around a fountain. Picasso derived his composition from the sculptural reliefs of classical Greek grave stelae. The women do not interact with one another, but are united by their bulky physiques and their drapery, which transforms their bodies into freestanding fluted columns. Picasso lends the figures a 3-D quality with simple, geometric forms and a strong emphasis on line. He developed his personal form of Neoclassicism concurrent with his continuing investigations of Cubism.

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Pablo Picasso, Spanish, 1881–1973
Three Women at the Fountain
Pastel on wove paper
Sheet: 25 × 19 1/8 in. (63.5 × 48.5 cm)
Credit Line

Gift of Miss Ima Hogg and other Trustees of the Varner-Bayou Bend Heritage Fund

Current Location
Not on view
Accession Number
Drawings, Pastels & Watercolors

[Paul Rosenberg, Paris]; purchased by Miss Ima Hogg, September 20, 1929-1961; transferred to Trustees of the Varner-Bayou Bend Heritage Fund, Houston, 1961-1969; [consigned to Hirschl and Adler Galleries, New York, 1968, withdrawn and returned, August 1968]; given to MFAH, 1969.