366

PROPERTY FROM A PRIVATE SCANDINAVIAN COLLECTION

Pablo Picasso
FERNANDE (TÊTE DE FEMME)
Estimate
500,000700,000
LOT SOLD. 586,000 USD (Hammer Price with Buyer's Premium)
JUMP TO LOT
366

PROPERTY FROM A PRIVATE SCANDINAVIAN COLLECTION

Pablo Picasso
FERNANDE (TÊTE DE FEMME)
Estimate
500,000700,000
LOT SOLD. 586,000 USD (Hammer Price with Buyer's Premium)
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Impressionist & Modern Art Day Sale

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New York

Pablo Picasso
1881 - 1973
FERNANDE (TÊTE DE FEMME)
Inscribed Picasso
Bronze
Height: 13 3/4 in.
35 cm
Conceived in 1906 and cast in bronze in an edition of 9 in 1960. 
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Claude Picasso has confirmed the authenticity of this work.

Provenance

Ambroise Vollard, Paris
Lucien Vollard, Paris
Private Collection, Switzerland (acquired from the above in 1948 and sold: Galerie Kornfeld, Bern, June 23, 2000, lot 116)
Acquired at the above sale

Literature

Christian Zervos, Pablo Picasso, Oeuvres de 1895 et 1906, vol. I, Paris, 1932, no. 323, illustration of another cast p. 149
Picasso (exhibition catalogue), Basel, Galerie Beyeler, 1966, illustration of another cast no. 6
Ron Johnson, The Early Sculpture of Picasso, 1901-1914, New York, 1976, no. 5, illustration of another cast
Una E. Johnson, ed., Ambroise Vollard, Éditeur, Prints, Books, Bronzes (exhibition catalogue), Museum of Modern Art, New York, 1977, no. 228, illustration of another cast
Werner Spies, Pablo Picasso, Sammlung Marina Picasso, Munich, 1981, no. 53, illustration of another cast
Pablo Picasso, Malaga 1881-1973 Mougins: Graphische Werke (exhibition catalogue), Galerie Kornfeld, Bern, 1982, no. 116, illustration of another cast
Werner Spies & Christine Piot, Picasso, Das Plastische Werk, Stuttgart, 1983, no. 6, illustrations of another cast p. 346
Josep Palau i Fabre, Picasso 1881-1907, Barcelona, 1985, no. 1205, illustration of another cast p. 437 
John Richardson, A Life of Picasso, vol I: 1881-1906, New York, 1991, illustration of another cast p. 428
Carsten-Peter Warncke & Ingo Walther, Pablo Picasso, 1881-1973, vol. I, Cologne, 1992, illustration of another cast p. 132
M. Teresa Ocaña & Hans Christoph von Tavel, Picasso, 1905-1906, Barcelona, 1992, no. 133, illustration of another cast 
Picasso and Portraiture (exhibition catalogue), Museum of Modern Art, New York, 1996, illustration of another cast p. 13
Picasso Project, ed., Picasso’s, Paintings, Watercolors, Drawings and Sculptures, The Rose Period 1905-1906, San Francisco, 2012, no. 11906-519, illustrations of another cast p. 318     

Catalogue Note

In the summer of 1906, Pablo Picasso returned to Spain after two years away. His visit was prompted by the long Parisian winter, and he hoped to be reinvigorated by the warm Mediterranean sunlight of his native country. After a few weeks in Barcelona at the end of May, he and his mistress, Fernande Olivier, traveled to Gósol, a small village in the Catalan pre-Pyrenées where they stayed until the beginning of August. Picasso was immensely prolific during the ten weeks spent at Gósol, executing a number of paintings, drawings, watercolors, gouaches and sculptures. His chief concern during this period was portraits and figure-studies inspired by local youth, peasant girls, the innkeeper Josep Fontdevila and, most importantly, his companion Fernande. His figure studies of Fernande are considered some of his most expressive during this period.

During the first part of Picasso’s stay in Gósol, his subjects and perspectival techniques were deeply influenced by the compositions of Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres, who had been the subject of a major retrospective exhibition in Paris the previous year. This Ingres-inspired aesthetic is apparent in Tête de Femme (Fernande) in the spatial relationship of her features and in her sensuous gaze. Perhaps even more influential on the imposing presence of the present work, however, was the Louvre’s exhibition of fifth- and sixth-century B.C. Iberian Sculpture. As John Richardson writes: “In addition to their atavistic spell, their brutality and lack of distinction commended them to someone who was anxious to demolish traditional canons of beauty. For the time being Picasso did not see how to harness their primitivism to his work. The months he was to spend in Spain in the summer would show him how to do so” (John Richardson, A Life of Picasso, vol. I, New York, 1991, p. 428). In the almost life-size present work, this notion comes to fruition in the juxtaposition of the smooth skin of Fernande’s face emerging from the roughly hewn bronze of her hair, and in the carefully modeled nose and lips which stand in contrast to the vast expanse of her cheeks and forehead. Picasso emphasizes the sheer mass of the work as well as the unusual and almost ethereal beauty of Fernande deftly immortalized in bronze.

Picasso’s Gósol figures foreshadow the stylistic shift that occurred the following year in Les Demoiselles d’Avignon. Robert Rosenblum explains how Picasso’s production during his time in Gósol would redirect the course of his artistic development: “The serene and earthy equilibrium, often described as classical, that marked much, though not all, of this summer productivity might appear to be the last gasp of traditional order before the detonation of 1907. But far from being buried forever in the rubble, the wide and experimental range of paintings, drawings, and sculpture from the Gósol months launches a wealth of fresh ideas that would be amplified in the new era inaugurated by the Demoiselles and would have many afterlives in Picasso’s post-Cubist career" (Robert Rosenblum, Picasso The Early Years, 1892-1906, Washington D.C., 1997, p. 263).

Conceived in 1906, the present work was cast in an edition of nine in 1906. Four of these casts now belong to museum collections: the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, D.C., the Kunsthaus in Zurich, the Musée Picasso in Paris and the Allen Memorial Art Museum at Oberlin College in Ohio.

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