- Pablo Picasso
- Femme assise dans un fauteuil noir
- Dated 19.11.62/18.12 on the reverse
- Oil on canvas
Private Collection (acquired from the above)
Private Collection (thence by descent and sold: Christie’s, New York, May 4, 2004, lot 34)
Acquired at the above sale
Sydney, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Picasso: The Last Decade, 2002-03
Hélène Parmelin, Picasso, Les Dames de Mougins, Paris, 1964, illustrated in color p. 179
Christian Zervos, Pablo Picasso Oeuvres de 1962 et 1963, vol. XXIII, Paris, 1971, no. 85, illustrated pl. 45
Edward Quinn & Pierre Daix, The Private Picasso, Paris, 1987, photograph of Picasso with the present work p. 236
Carsten-Peter Warncke & Ingo F. Walther, Pablo Picasso, 1881-1973, vol. II, Cologne, 1994, illustrated in color p. 586
The Picasso Project (ed.), Picasso’s Paintings, Watercolors, Drawings and Sculpture, The Sixties I, 1960-1963, San Francisco, 2002, no. 62-303, illustrated p. 304
The present picture, painted the year after they were married, dates from November and December of 1962, when Picasso completed a series of of depictions of Jacqueline in an armchair. Although her image has been partially abstracted by the bifurcation of her face, the dark and dramatically arched eyebrows and the beautifully curved eyelids are unmistakably those of Jacqueline. The liberties that Picasso has taken with geometrically constructing her form call to mind his impressive sculpture from the same year created for the Chicago Civic Center. In both the painting and the sculpture, Picasso explores the relationship between light and shadow, negative and positive space and severe tonal contrasts to create dramatic and engaging imagery. Throughout their life together, Jacqueline served as a model for several of Picasso's reinterpretations of art historical masterworks, including his studies of Manet's Déjeuner sur l'herbe and Delacroix' Femmes d'Algiers. But here, the artist has chosen to paint her not in any narrative context, but rather as the singular object and focus of his attention. Much like Marie-Thérèse had been in the 1930s, Jacqueline was a soothing companion for the firebrand artist, and his grandest depictions of her evoke the quiet yet extraordinarily powerful influence she held over his entire production during these last years of his life. In his monograph on the artist, Duncan claimed that "Jacqueline told me she had not once posed for Picasso. Her silence filled their home — and her face his eyes" (ibid., p. 27).
In his discussion of Picasso's late works, David Sylvester links them to his early masterpiece, Demoiselles d'Avignon, both distinguished by the 'raw vitality' which they have as their central underlying theme: "The resemblance of figures in the Demoiselles and in late Picasso to masked tribal dancers is as crucial as their scale in giving them a threatening force. It is irrelevant whether or not particular faces or bodies are based on particular tribal models: what matters is the air these personages have of coming from a world more primitive, possibly more cannibalistic and certainly more elemental than ours. Despite the rich assortment of allusions to paintings in the Renaissance tradition, the treatment of space rejects that tradition in favor of an earlier one, the flat unperspectival space of, say, medieval Catalan frescoes... At twenty five, Picasso's raw vitality was already being enriched by the beginnings of an encyclopaedic awareness of art; at ninety, his encyclopaedic awareness of art was still being enlivened by a raw vitality" (David Sylvester, ibid., p. 144).