In 1920, Picasso was hired to design costumes and sets for the ballet Pulcinella. Concurrently, he created a series of still lifes featuring items, such as mandolins, guitars, bowls of fruit and pedestal tables. The present composition epitomizes Picasso’s work of the early 1920s. While the objects are still abstracted in form, Picasso has rendered them with clear legibility, easily identified by the viewer. Douglas Cooper has commented that “Picasso was hoping to find for himself a workable equation of values between Cubist reality, visual reality, and the accepted pictorial reality created by the eye-fooling methods of naturalism” (Douglas Cooper, The Cubist Epoch, London, 1994, p. 211).
The present work once held a prominent position in the collection of Austrian-born American conductor, Erich Leinsdorf. Leinsdorf studied conducting at University of Vienna and the Vienna Academy of Music. Leaving for America just weeks before the invasion of Vienna in 1938, Leinsdorf found his way to New York City and became the assistant conductor at the Metropolitan Opera at only twenty-five years of age. He served as the principle conductor at different points in his life for the Cleveland Orchestra, Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, Boston Symphony Orchestra and New York Philharmonic.
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