375
375

PROPERTY FROM A PRIVATE EUROPEAN COLLECTION

Pablo Picasso
VÉNUS ET AMOUR
Estimation
500 000700 000
Lot. Vendu 605,000 USD (Prix d’adjudication avec commission acheteur)
ACCÉDER AU LOT
375

PROPERTY FROM A PRIVATE EUROPEAN COLLECTION

Pablo Picasso
VÉNUS ET AMOUR
Estimation
500 000700 000
Lot. Vendu 605,000 USD (Prix d’adjudication avec commission acheteur)
ACCÉDER AU LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Impressionist & Modern Art Day Sale

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New York

Pablo Picasso
1881 - 1973
VÉNUS ET AMOUR
Oil on stucco laid down on canvas mounted on board
55 by 32 1/4 in.
139.5 by 81.8 cm
Executed in 1918.
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Provenance

Eugenia Errazuriz, Biarritz
Galerie Bischofsberger, Zurich
Acquired from the above 

Bibliographie

Christian Zervos, Pablo Picasso, Oeuvres de 1917 à 1919, vol. III, Paris, 1949, no. 230, illustrated pl. 80
The Picasso Project, ed., Picasso's Paintings, Watercolors, Drawings and Sculpture, From Cubism to Neoclassicism 1917-1919, San Francisco, 1995, no. 18-134, illustrated p. 136

Description

Venus et Amour is an extraordinarily rare stucco painting that Pablo Picasso executed on his honeymoon with Olga in 1918. Its theme, scale and energetic execution are testament to a period of intense love and romance for the artist, even if the marriage did not ultimately turn out to be a happy one. In 1917 Picasso had traveled to Rome with Jean Cocteau to meet the members of the Ballets Russes who were performing there at the time and to work on his stage designs for a new piece. It was his first trip to Italy and the experience of seeing the great masterpieces of Renaissance and Baroque art encouraged him to return to the human figure as a source of inspiration, after many long years of abstracted Cubist experimentation. In Pompeii he was struck by the graphic simplicity and direct eroticism of ancient Roman mural painting, themes which he explored to great effect in the remarkable series of murals he painted at La Mimoserie, a villa in Biarritz, including the present work.

Olga Koklova was a slender, dark-haired ballerina in Diaghilev's company. In June 1917, Picasso pursued her to Barcelona, where the Ballets Russes were next due to perform, and the couple were married in July of the following year. Picasso and Olga spent their honeymoon in Biarritz, guests of Eugenia Errazuriz, a great beauty of Chilean origin and keen patron and supporter of Modernism in Paris; her circle of friends included not only Picasso but also Igor Stravinsky, Jean Cocteau and Cecil Beaton. In return for her hospitality, Picasso decorated the walls of her house, weaving into his design some lines from Les Saisons, a poem by his good friend Guillaume Appolinaire, which translate as follows: "It was a blessed time, we passed it on the beaches. / Go there at first light, hatless and barefoot. / Quick as the flitting tongue of a toad, / Love's Cupid wounded to the heart both fool and sage alike...."

Picasso's sojourn at Eugenia's villa introduced him to the joys of life in the South of France, and from this time onward he would generally spend his summers there, claiming that the Mediterranean atmosphere inspired him to paint the mythological themes which became such principal and enduring motifs in his art. Ever one to link his works with those of the Old Masters, here Picasso evokes Botticelli's 1486 masterpiece The Birth of Venus, though his interpretation of the theme is a much more pared down version, exemplary of his celebrated confident handling and economy of line. This reductive approach was perfectly suited to Eugenia's famously minimalist interiors. John Richardson has written of the "unconventional sparseness of her rooms" and Cecil Beaton proclaimed that "her effect on the taste of the last fifty years has been so enormous that the whole aesthetic of modern interior decoration, and many of the concepts of simplicity...generally acknowledged today, can be laid at her remarkable doorstep."

Picasso adored Eugenia and this remarkable painting stands as a testimony not only to his honeymoon with Olga, but also of his gratitude to, and lasting friendship with, this true Chilean original, the individual who first introduced the artist to the South of France and even became known as "Picasso's other mother."

Impressionist & Modern Art Day Sale

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New York