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Les Soles [The Soles]
© Succession Picasso/DACS, London 2015

Reference URL

Les Soles [The Soles] 1940

On Display Modern One

'The Soles' was painted in Paris in March 1940, but was inspired by the town of Royan, on the Atlantic coast. Picasso was based in Royan at the time and became homesick for the town, with its bustling marketplace, during a three-month trip to Paris. The painting has traditionally been called 'The Soles' but the fish in the scales on the left is not a sole and the crab is perhaps the most dominant element in the composition. It has been composed so that the claws of the crab balance the shape of the scales. The crab also represents Picasso himself, weighing up the qualities of his two very different mistresses, Marie-Thérèse Walter (the rounded fish in the centre) and Dora Maar, who appears as the aggressive, sharp-faced fish. Both women were in Royan in 1940.

Glossary Open


The arrangement of different elements in a work of art.



  • Acc. No. GMA 1070
  • Medium Oil on canvas
  • Size 60.00 x 92.00 cm
  • Credit Purchased 1967