14
14

PROPERTY OF A GERMAN COLLECTOR

Pablo Picasso
SYLVETTE
Estimate
1,800,0002,500,000
LOT SOLD. 2,952,500 USD
JUMP TO LOT
14

PROPERTY OF A GERMAN COLLECTOR

Pablo Picasso
SYLVETTE
Estimate
1,800,0002,500,000
LOT SOLD. 2,952,500 USD
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Impressionist & Modern Art Evening Sale

|
New York

Pablo Picasso
1881 - 1973
SYLVETTE
Dated 18.4.54. (upper right)
Charcoal on canvas
36 by 28 3/4 in.
91.5 by 73 cm
Executed on April 18, 1954.
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Claude Picasso has confirmed the authenticity of this work.

Provenance

Estate of the artist

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 


Exhibited

Munich, Galerie Thomas, Pablo Picasso, 1986

Bremen, Kunsthalle, Sylvette, Sylvette, Sylvette. Picasso und das Modell, 2014, no. 4, illustrated in color in the catalogue

Literature

Hélène Parmelin, Picasso, Les Dames de Mougins, Secrets d'alcôve d'un atelier, Paris, 1964, illustrated in color p. 61

Catalogue Note

The present work belongs to a stunning group of portraits of Sylvette David, whom Picasso first met in the spring of 1953. A daughter of a Parisian art dealer and an English born artist mother, Sylvette came to Vallauris in the south of France to visit her fiancé, a maker of avant-garde metal chairs, who worked across the road from Picasso’s home, La Galloise. Picasso took a liking to these chairs and asked for a few to be delivered to his studio, inviting the young couple to his home one evening. Picasso later presented Sylvette with a portrait drawn from memory and persuaded her to model for him. Sylvette was twenty years old at the time Picasso painted the present portrait, one of the only female models of Picasso with whom he had no romantic relationship.

The present work was one of the first portraits Picasso produced of her. It was executed in charcoal on primed canvas, giving the work an elegant, monochromatic palette, which was reiterated in the black and white oils painted at the same time. Commenting on the present work and another, less complete, composition drawn on the same day, Vera Hausdorff writes: “In these works the stand-up collar appears as a wing-like form around the slim neck, which Picasso elongated as if to emphasise the girl’s proud demeanour” (V. Hausdorff in Sylvette, Sylvette, Sylvette, Picasso and the Model (exhibition catalogue), op. cit., p. 88).

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).

 

Impressionist & Modern Art Evening Sale

|
New York