Thomas Ammann Fine Art, Zurich
Acquired from the above by the present owner in 1988
The artist’s return to a classical style was part of a larger rappel à l’ordre that dominated the avant-garde following the First World War, fuelled by a desire for stability, introspection and contemplation after the shock and destruction of the war. Always ahead of the curve, Picasso seems to have pre-empted this shift; his earliest works in this style date from 1917 following a trip to Italy. In fact, during these years he alternated between the flattened planes and abstractions of cubism and a distinctively voluptuous and sculptural form of classicism. In many cases, and particularly with the present work, his classicism appears tempered by the later influences of artists like Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres. Picasso’s allusions to the art of antiquity are less a submission to a specific style than a demonstration of his continuous desire for reinvention and the drive for new means of expression that was the touchstone of his genius.
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