Lot 71
  • 71

Pablo Picasso

2,000,000 - 3,000,000 USD
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  • Pablo Picasso
  • Signed Picasso (lower right); dated 25.3.56 II on the reverse
  • Oil on canvas
  • 76 3/4 by 51 3/8 in.
  • 195 by 130 cm


Galerie Louise Leiris, Paris (acquired from the artist)

Waddington Galleries Ltd., London

Private Collection, United States (acquired from the above in November 1997)

Sale: Christie's, New York, November 6, 2001, lot 59

Acquired at the above sale


Paris, Galerie Louise Leiris, Picasso, 1957, no. 20, illustrated in the catalogue 

Tokyo, National Museum of Modern Art; Kyoto, National Museum of Modern Art & Nagoya, Prefectural Museum of Art, Pablo Picasso Retrospective 1899-1963, 1964

Tel Aviv Museum & Jerusalem, Israel Museum, Picasso, 1966, no. 47, illustrated in the catalogue 

Paris, Grand Palais, Hommage à Pablo Picasso, 1966-67, no. 244, illustrated in the catalogue 

Culan, Forteresse Medievale, Exposition Picasso: Gravures, peintures ceramiques, 1967

Paris, Galerie Schmidt, Maîtres français XIX-XX siecles, 1986, no. 48 illustrated in color in the catalogue 

Montreal, Landau Fine Art, Pablo Picasso and Fernand Léger, 1991, p. 21, illustrated in color in the catalogue 


Christian Zervos, Pablo Picasso, Paris, 1966. vol. 17, no. 48, illustrated, pl. 18 

The Picasso Project, Picasso’s Paintings, Watercolors, Drawings and Sculpture. The Fifties I, 1950-1955, San Francisco, 2000, no. 56-047, illustrated p. 15


Excellent condition. On close inspection, a very fine claquelure running down the center from her face to the center of the body and again from middle black to the red which in line with the center stretcher bar and the rectangular white area on the left. The pigment is stable. No visible retouches under UV light.
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.

Catalogue Note

In Femme dans un rocking-chair, the seated woman was inspired by Jacqueline, the last love of Picasso's life, whom he married in 1961.  The present work depicts Jacqueline at the beginning of the couple's relationship and sitting in Picasso's favorite rocking chair, which was a constant fixture in his studio.  One of Picasso's first depictions of Jacqueline, a realistic charcoal portrait from 1954, featured her seated in this same chair.  Over the next two years Picasso completed several renditions of a woman in a rocking chair, some of which, including Femme dans un rocking-chair and a related composition painted the previous day, present a highly abstracted version of the sitter.  Several of Picasso's contemporaries claimed that Picasso rarely painted from live models and that his figural portraits were all products of his imagination.  In his photographic essay on the artist, David Douglas Duncan wrote about this practice and specifically referred to these first depictions of Jacqueline seated in the precious wooden rocker: “Jacqueline sometimes mirrored Pablo sitting in his favorite turn-of-the-century rocker. He had two.  They followed him whenever he changed homes, his always faithful refuge in which to curl up, isolated – just to think.  One of his first portraits of her was drawn in charcoal when she pulled her feet up into the companion chair -- as she often did, even though when he transformed profile to portrait she was nowhere in sight.  She never posed" (David Douglas Duncan, Picasso and Jacqueline, New York and London, 1988, p. 123).

Soon after Picasso completed the present work, he went on to incorporate the image of Jacqueline seated in a rocking-chair within a series of depictions of the interior of his studio. Presented within this larger format, the organic structure of the rocking-chair complemented the arabesques of the doorframe and the branches of the palm trees and plants within the studio.  But depicted as a single object, as in the present picture, the chair's elaborately twisted wooden frame accentuates the curves of the woman's body.  It appears as if Picasso has drawn the chair and the torso of the figure with one continuous line.  He positions her within a field of solid color patches and distinguishes her from the chair and the surrounding architecture by the subtlest of physical details.  Picasso painted this work just two years after the death of Henri Matisse, and the bold and colorful style of the composition recalls the cut-outs of his departed friend and colleague.

The image of Jacqueline, seated in profile, had come to define her soft-spoken persona in the 1950s.   The present picture was created just as her relationship with Picasso was solidifying and hints at the steady and powerful force she would become in the artist’s life until his death in 1973.  William Rubin provided the following characterization of Jacqueline and her long relationship with Picasso:  "Her understated, gentle, and loving personality combined with her unconditional commitment to him provided an emotionally stable life and a dependable foyer over a longer period of time than he had ever before enjoyed” (quoted in Michael FitzGerald, Picasso, The Artist's Studio (exhibition catalogue), Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Hartford and The Cleveland Museum of Art, 2001-2002 , p. 154).