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Details & Cataloguing

Impressionist & Modern Art Evening Sale

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London

Pablo Picasso
1881 - 1973
LE PEINTRE ET SON MODÈLE
signed Picasso and dated 9 Janvier XXXIII (upper right)
charcoal on paper
34.2 by 50.8cm.
13 1/2 by 20in.
Executed on 9th January 1933.
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Provenance

Dr Francisco San Tiago Dantas, Rio de Janeiro (acquired in the 1930s or 1940s)

Private Collection (by descent from the above. Sold: Bolsa de Arte, Rio de Janeiro, 13th August 2015, lot 79)

Richard L. Feigen & Co., New York (purchased at the above sale)

Acquired from the above by the present owner

Literature

Christian Zervos, Pablo Picasso, œuvres de 1932 à 1937, Paris, 1957, vol. 8, no. 85, illustrated pl. 36

Josep Palau i Fabre, Picasso: From the Minotaur to Guernica (1927-1939), Barcelona, 2011, no. 413, illustrated p. 137

The Picasso Project (ed.), Picasso’s Paintings, Watercolors, Drawings and Sculpture. Surrealism, 1930-1936, San Francisco, 1997, no. 33-003, illustrated p. 154

Catalogue Note

This exquisite charcoal drawing was inspired by the artist’s beloved mistress during the early 1930s, Marie-Thérèse Walter. Distinguished by their harmonic curves and sweeping arabesques, Picasso’s images of his lover are amongst the most euphoric and sexually charged compositions of his career. Marie-Thérèse's potent mix of physical attractiveness and sexual naivety had an intoxicating effect on Picasso, and his adoration is nowhere more apparent than in the depictions of his lover in the nude. Her passivity in these pictures makes her body all the more pliant to Picasso's manipulations and distortions. It must be remembered that Marie-Thérèse came into Picasso's life when the collective consciousness of the avant-garde was enthralled by Surrealism.

As with all Picasso’s muses, Marie-Thérèse’s distinctive features, with her Grecian profile, came to entirely dominate the works he produced during their time together. Her high bridged nose and neat mouth would be assimilated into every facet of his work. In Le Peintre et son modèle Picasso has depicted her simultaneously in no less than three roles – the artist, the model and the work of art itself. This composition belongs to a group of charcoal drawings of the same subject executed in January 1933 – one of which is now in the Musée National Picasso in Paris (fig. 1) - and in each case Marie-Thérèse plays all three parts. Picasso returned to this theme a couple of years later in 1935, showing two female figures – one drawing the other or herself in a mirror.

Although their relationship was initially carried out in secret, by the time Le Peintre et son modèle was drawn in 1933, the girl who once ‘knew nothing of Picasso’ had come to define the artist and his production. Robert Rosenblum wrote about the exhibition of Picasso's work held in Paris in the summer of 1932, which effectively represented the young woman's symbolic unveiling in his art: 'Marie-Thérèse, now firmly entrenched in both the city and country life of a lover twenty-eight years her senior, could at last emerge from the wings to centre stage, where she could preside as a radiant deity, in new roles that changed from Madonna to sphinx, from odalisque to earth mother. At times her master seems to worship humbly at her shrine, capturing a fixed, confrontational stare of almost supernatural power; but more often, he becomes an ecstatic voyeur, who quietly captures his beloved, reading, meditating, catnapping, or surrendering to the deepest abandon of sleep' (R. Rosenblum in Picasso and Portraiture: Representation and Transformation (exhibition catalogue), The Museum of Modern Art, New York, 1996, p. 342).

Impressionist & Modern Art Evening Sale

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London