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Details & Cataloguing

Erotic: Passion & Desire

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London

Pablo Picasso
SPANISH, 1881 - 1973
NU (NUDE)
signed Picasso and dated 22.8.71 (upper left); dated Dimanche 22.8.71 and inscribed I on the reverse
pencil on card
31.3 by 22.4cm., 12 1/4 by 8 3/8 in.
Executed on Sunday 22nd of August in 1971.
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Provenance

Alexander Iolas, Paris (acquired directly from the artist in 1971)
Acquired from the above by the present owner in 1974

Literature

Christian Zervos, Pablo Picasso, Œuvres de 1971-1972, Paris, 1954, vol. 33, no. 151, illustrated pl. 57
The Picasso Project, ed., Picasso’s Paintings, Watercolors, Drawings and Sculptures, The Final years, 1970-1973, San Francisco, 2002, no. 71-256, illustrated p. 206

Catalogue Note

Powerfully visceral yet oddly sensual, Nu (Nude) was created as Pablo Picasso moved towards the end of his astonishingly productive creative life. While his own physical stamina may have waned by this point, Picasso’s focus on erotic subjects in his paintings and drawings only increased during his later years, and he executed his chosen subjects with remarkable passion and intensity.

 

‘I have less and less time and I have more and more to say’, Picasso commented in his last decade (quoted in Klaus Gallwitz, Picasso Laureatus, Lausanne & Paris, 1971, p. 166). In both style and subject matter, the present work reveals the freedom and spontaneity which Picasso permitted himself to embrace in his later work. Picasso here depicts the nude resting languorously against the cushions, devoted entirely to her own pleasure yet unabashedly meeting the onlooker’s gaze. Her pose echoes that of Gustave Courbet’s celebrated L’Origine du monde, in which a woman’s sexuality is unashamedly glorified. Ultimately, Nu (Nude) serves as a superb illumination of Picasso’s blatant celebration of female eroticism, a theme which stands as arguably the fundamental cornerstone of his most significant works throughout his career.

Erotic: Passion & Desire

|
London