Lot 68
  • 68

Pablo Picasso

Estimate
700,000 - 900,000 USD
bidding is closed

Description

  • Pablo Picasso
  • TÊTE (Portrait de Marie-Thérèse)
  • Signed Picasso (lower left); dated Dinard 12 Août 1928 and inscribed No. 2 on the stretcher
  • Oil on Canvas
  • 14 by 7 1/2 in.
  • 35.5 by 19 cm

Provenance

Knoedler Gallery, New York

Laurence Tisch, New York

Private Collection, New York (acquired from the above)

Thence by descent to the present owner

Literature

Christian Zervos, Pablo Picasso, oeuvres de 1926 à 1932, vol. 7, Paris, 1955, no. 228, illustrated pl. 90

Robert Rosenblum, "Picasso's Blond Muse: The Reign of Marie-Thérèse Walter," Picasso and Portraiture, Representation and Transformation (exhibition catalogue), The Museum of Modern Art, New York, 1996, illustrated p. 344

The Picasso Project, ed., Picasso's Paintings, Watercolors, Drawings and Sculptures, Toward Surrealism, 1925-1929, San Francisco, 1996,  no. 28-176, illustrated p. 162

 

Condition

Very good condition. The canvas is lined. Under UV, there are two tiny retouches in the hair and one in the lower right corner near the edge. The composition is stable and in overall very good condition.
In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective qualified opinion.
NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING CONDITION OF A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD "AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF SALE PRINTED IN THE CATALOGUE.

Catalogue Note

This rare, early portrait of Marie-Thérèse evidences Picasso's obsession with his lover's angular facial features.  The picture dates from August of 1928, when the two were secretly spending time together on the beaches of Dinard in the north of France.  While many of Picasso's sculptures, paintings and drawings from this era specifically focus on Marie-Thérèse's Grecian features and athletic body, this intimate and unusually-formatted canvas zeros-in on her sharp profile.  The smooth lines of her silhouette are not unlike the pieces of polished rock and driftwood smoothed by the tides that Picasso had found so aesthetically fascinating that summer.

The present oil is one of a few realistic portrayals of his mistress that Picasso completed that August.  As John Richardson tells us in his biography of the artist, Marie-Thérèse joined Picasso in Dinard on August 5, and he was so thrilled to see her that he immediately set out on painting intimate renderings of her image, as if she was now his to possess: "With Marie-Thérèse by his side, Picasso no longer needed to conceptualize her.  Each day, he would do several small paintings of her.  At first, he depicted her as an assemblage of sticks, beach balls, and boomerangs, trying to enter his beach cabana and then he gradually transformed her into a cutout, playing ball with other identical cutouts of herself" (John Richardon, A Life of Picasso, The Triumphant Years, 1917-1932, New York, 2007, p. 360).  With its extreme linear precision, the present composition falls into place amidst this series of depictions.

One of the first owners of this canvas was Laurence Tisch (1923-2003), the self-made New York billionaire investor and chairman of CBS.  Tisch is most remembered as a major philanthropist, and his legacy as patron of the arts is perhaps best known by the performing arts and media school named in his honor at New York University.  
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