65
65
Pablo Picasso
BUSTE DE JEUNE GARÇON
Estimate
2,500,0003,500,000
JUMP TO LOT
65
Pablo Picasso
BUSTE DE JEUNE GARÇON
Estimate
2,500,0003,500,000
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Impressionist & Modern Art Evening Sale

|
New York

Pablo Picasso
1881 - 1973
BUSTE DE JEUNE GARÇON
Signed Picasso (upper left); dated 15.12.64.III on the reverse
Oil on canvas
28 3/4 by 21 1/4 in.
73 by 54 cm
Painted on December 15, 1964.
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Provenance

Galerie Louise Leiris, Paris (acquired from the artist)

Galleria Internazionale, Milan (acquired from the above in 1971)

Marisa Del Re Gallery, New York

Harry & Brigitte Spiro, New York

Literature

Christian Zervos, Pablo Picasso, Oeuvres de 1964, vol. 24, Paris, 1971, no. 326, illustrated pl. 127

The Picasso Project, ed., Picasso's Paintings, Watercolors, Drawings and Sculpture.  The Sixties II, 1964-1967, San Francisco, 2002, no. 64-327, illustrated p. 112

Catalogue Note

Picasso painted Buste de jeune garçon in December 1964 at his new home of Notre-Dame de Vie. He would spend the rest of his life with Jacqueline at this grand estate overlooking Cannes and surrounded by olive groves, where every creative medium was at his disposal.  His production during these first months reflects a renewed interest in linearity and three-dimensionality, as evidenced by the sheet-metal portrait sculptures and etchings that he completed alongside his paintings and drawings.  The present work belongs to a series of starkly linear depictions of a young man, and the formal rendering here is stylistically similar to his figural renderings in other media as well as to the 'artist and model' series of canvases that occupied him that year.  While clearly a product of his creative influences at the time, Buste de jeune garçon is also indicative of the direction that Picasso's art would take during his final years.  The intimate, frontal depiction and the focus on an individualized male subject presage the many heroic Musketeers and Cavaliers who would come to dominate the artist's final years.

Picasso's aim with the present picture was to blur the boundaries between life and art, creating "someone who exists."  He told his friend Hélène Parmelin, who visited him at Notre-Dame de Vie during these months, that "sometimes there's a head that's so true that you can have a relationship with that head just as with a real one" (quoted in Hélène Parmelin, Picasso, Intimate Secrets of a Studio at Notre Dame de Vie, New York, 1966, p. 80).  Piecing together a puzzle of lines, dots and dashes, Picasso brings these figures to life.  Aided by an intensity of color he formulates a visual code that triggers the viewer's perception of a face amidst this jumble of lines and shapes.  And with their imperfections and oddities, these young boys and men possess a humanity that Picasso felt was absent in the 'abstract' art of his contemporaries.  Parmelin considers Picasso's artistic alchemy, observing that "in order to attain the man as he is, he even takes away his sacrosanct features: he invests and substitutes them for his own features which endow the man with a painting face as true as the other, and yet completely independent of the other" (ibid., p. 82). 

Parmelin recounts an episode when Picasso assessed his various paintings of heads, individually and as a series, with the goal of selecting twelve of them for the upcoming Salon de Mai in 1965:  "Picasso lays his canvases on the floor.  They are side by side.  Jacqueline keeps bringing in new ones, and Pignon sets up in the studio a labyrinth of rows of canvases.  One can see them all at the same time.  On the far wall, a row of heads, painted on the same canvas, overlook the scene.  As if they were sitting in the first tier of the arena and watching the corrida of canvases that we are preparing...  They immediately start composing a canvas with quantities of pictures of heads, two rows of which are superimposed.  They spend hours at it.  They try nudes and painters in the intervals of the heads.  They fit in effortlessly [Picasso says]  'This morning none of them even knew that the other existed'" (ibid., p. 171).

Impressionist & Modern Art Evening Sale

|
New York