Marina Picasso (the artist's granddaughter; by descent from the above)
Galerie Jan Krugier, Geneva (acquired from the above)
Galerie Thomas, Munich
Private Collection, Hamburg (acquired from the above in May 1986)
Thence by descent
Sylvette’s stunning features fascinated Picasso so much that throughout April and May 1954 he composed a number of paintings and drawings in a range of styles. Sylvette’s youthful profile was also the subject of several sheet metal sculptures as well as two monumental concrete sculptures.
Although Picasso did not have a romantic relationship with Sylvette, Pierre Daix wrote about his fascination with his young model and the effect she had on his art: “Picasso glowed with enthusiasm and spoke of her with such warmth that I suspected he had fallen in love. He disabused me by describing the fiancé. The challenge posed by Sylvette was in fact the challenge of a new type of woman. Through her he would appropriate for his own purposes the generation which followed that of Françoise, and even of Geneviève Laporte. At this point he plunged into one of his most extraordinary campaigns of possession, not through working and reworking an oil painting but with a dazzling series of forty paintings and drawings done inside a month. Sylvette seated in an armchair; Sylvette in three-quarter face; Sylvette in profile; in the vigorous geometrization used for the nudes of Françoise; and in all the grace of her natural curves, with the neck more or less elongated; somewhat stockier; somewhat thinner; Sylvette obdurate; closed; ironic; absent. How to capture the secret of her youth? The secret of painting?” (P. Daix, Picasso, Life and Art, New York, 1993, p. 318).
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