PROPERTY FROM A PRIVATE EUROPEAN COLLECTION

Pablo Picasso
BUSTE D’HOMME
JUMP TO LOT

PROPERTY FROM A PRIVATE EUROPEAN COLLECTION

Pablo Picasso
BUSTE D’HOMME
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Impressionist & Modern Art Evening Sale

|
London

Pablo Picasso
1881 - 1973
BUSTE D’HOMME
signed Picasso and dated 25.3.69.I (upper left)
oil and acrylic on corrugated cardboard
96.5 by 50cm.
38 by 19 5/8 in.
Painted on 25th March 1969.
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Provenance

Galerie Louise Leiris, Paris

Private Collection, France (sold: Sotheby's, London, 4th December 1996, lot 219)

Galleria d'Arte Maggiore, Bologna

Galería Levy, Madrid

Private Collection, Spain (acquired from the above in 2000. Sold: Christie's, London, 4th February 2015, lot 26)

Purchased at the above sale by the present owner

Exhibited

Buenos Aires, Centro Cultural Borges, Picasso, 2006, illustrated in the catalogue

Vitoria-Gasteiz, Fundación Caja Vital Kutxa, De Picasso a Barceló, 2010

Literature

Christian Zervos, Pablo Picasso, œuvres de 1969, Paris, 1976, vol. 31, no. 115, illustrated pl. 37

Catalogue Note

In March 1969 Picasso painted a series of highly stylised oils, including the present Buste d’homme, on the theme of the musketeer, which became one of the key subjects of his late œuvre. The image of the musketeer allowed Picasso to escape the limitations of contemporary subject matter and explore the spirit of a past age. These characters embodied the courtly mannerisms of the Renaissance gentleman and signified the golden age of painting, reflecting the influence of Velázquez, Rembrandt and Rubens on Picasso’s art. Picasso had devoted a large portion of his time and passion throughout the 1960s to the reinterpretation and investigation of the Old Masters, an experience in which he reaffirmed his connection to some of the greatest painters in the history of art. The musketeer series was a continuation of this interest and began, according to his wife Jacqueline Roque, ‘when Picasso started to study Rembrandt,’ but his appreciation of other great figures of the Renaissance, including Shakespeare, also influenced the appearance of these characters.

The musketeers are understood to be disguised portraits of Picasso himself. Towards the end of his life, the image of the musketeer evoked Picasso’s Spanish heritage and his nostalgia for the youthful vigour of his early years. As Marie-Laure Bernadac has observed: ‘If woman was depicted in all her aspects in Picasso’s art, man always appeared in disguise or in a specific role, the painter at work or the musketeer-matador holding the implements of his virility – the long pipe, the dagger, or the sword. In 1966, a new and final character emerged in Picasso’s iconography and dominated his last period to the point of becoming its emblem. This was the Golden Age gentleman, a half-Spanish, half-Dutch musketeer dressed in richly adorned clothing. […] all of these musketeers are men in disguise, romantic gentlemen, virile and arrogant soldiers, vainglorious and ridiculous despite their haughtiness’ (Brigitte Léal, Christine Piot and Marie-Laure Bernadac, The Ultimate Picasso, New York, 2000, p. 455).

Two exhibitions held in 2009 – Picasso: Challenging the Past at the National Gallery in London and Picasso: Mosqueteros at the Gagosian Gallery in New York – are part of an ongoing reassessment of Picasso’s late œuvre. The works of the last twenty years of Picasso’s life, including his images of musketeers and his variations on the theme of old master paintings, are increasingly seen as a fitting culmination to the career of the greatest artist of the twentieth century. His late heads and busts represent a psychological projection of a complex and multifaceted identity, an amalgamation of influences and personas that made up his iconography. As Simonetta Fraquelli wrote: ‘the extensive re-evaluation of his late work since his death has highlighted its undiminished power and originality. His capacity for emotional depth and painterly freedom in his late painting, together with his wide ranging engagement with the imagery of the great paintings of the past, was to have a lasting influence on the development of neoexpressionist art from the early 1980s onwards’ (S. Fraquelli, ‘Looking at the Past to Defy the Present: Picasso’s Painting 1946-1973’ in Picasso: Challenging the Past (exhibition catalogue), National Gallery, London, 2009, p. 146).

Impressionist & Modern Art Evening Sale

|
London