Details & Cataloguing

Impressionist & Modern Art Day Sale


Pablo Picasso
1881 - 1973
signed Picasso, dated 20.6.60. and numbered IV (upper left)
brush and ink and wash on paper
43.1 by 34.9cm., 17 by 13 3/4 in.
Executed on 20th June 1960.
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Galerie Louise Leiris, Paris
Galerie Beyeler, Basel
Private Collection (acquired from the above circa 1997)
Acquired from the above by the present owner


Jaime Sabartés, A los toros avec Picasso, Monte Carlo, 1961
Christian Zervos, Pablo Picasso, Œuvre de 1959 à 1961, Paris, 1968, vol. XIX, no. 358, illustrated p. 107
The Picasso Project (ed.), Picasso's Paintings, Watercolors, Drawings and Sculpture. The Sixties I, 1960-1963, San Francisco, 2002, no. 60-271, illustrated p. 90

Catalogue Note

Focusing on the female subject within Vieille et jeune femme, Pablo Picasso combines the figure of a young girl with the figure of the Celestina, or hooded old woman, a recurrent image throughout Picasso’s œuvre that first appeared in 1903-04. Depicted as facing each other, the figures convey a powerful dynamic against a plain background which helps to highlight the youth’s striking profile in contrast to the gnarled face of the old woman who looks up to her. Unlike most works from this series, the figures are presented as busts, allowing Picasso to concentrate on depicting the minutest details of the two faces.

In the autumn of 1960, the year in which the present work was executed, Picasso exhibited a series of drawings focused on a small repertoire of iconic Spanish images, of 'Slender ladies with towering mantillas, witchlike peasant women and flamenco dancers surround[ing] the impassive picador, centre of all admiration, in an aura of flying skirts and provocative gestures.' Penrose argues: 'The drawings, masterly in their creation of movement and suspense, were once a brilliant proof of Picasso's nostalgia for Spain and the ease with which he could communicate his passion to us. Never had the skill of his hand as a draftsman and the invention of his wit been used with more cunning and with more success' (Roland Penrose, Picasso, His Life and Work, London, 1971, p. 443).

Impressionist & Modern Art Day Sale