The influence of Iberian sculpture became an issue in 1939, when claimed that the primitivism of the derived from the art of and the French Congo. Picasso insisted that the editor of his "catalogue raissonne", , publish a disclaimer: the 'Demoiselles,' he said, owed nothing to , everything to the reliefs from Osuna that he had seen in the Louvre a year or so before. Nonetheless, he is known to have seen African tribal masks while working on the painting, during a visit to the with in June 1907, about which he later said "When I went to the Trocadero, it was disgusting. The flea market, the smell. I was all alone. I wanted to get away, but I didn't leave. I stayed, I stayed. I understood that it was very important. Something was happening to me, right. The masks weren't like any other pieces of sculpture, not at all. They were magic things." is often credited with introducing Picasso to African sculpture of extraction in 1904.
In her 1973 article "Virility and Domination in Early Twentieth-Century Vanguard Painting", Carol Duncan considers as both a product and reflection of pre- social relations between men and women. She writes: "What is so remarkable about this work is the way it manifests the structural foundation underlying both the and the new, ‘primitive’ woman. Picasso did not merely combine these into one horrible image; he dredged up from his psyche the terrifying and fascinating beast that gave birth to both of them. The Demoiselles prismatically mirrors her many opposing faces: whore and deity, decadent and savage, tempting and repelling, awesome and obscene, looming and crouching, masked and naked, threatening and powerless."
term:picasso = les demoiselles d'avignon Study Sets …
Picasso referred to his only entry at the Salon d'Antin as his Brothel painting calling it but André Salmon retitled it so as to lessen its scandalous impact on the public. Picasso never liked the title, however, preferring "las chicas de Avignon", but Salmon's title stuck.