Painted on April 19, 1967.
Galerie Louise Leiris, Paris
Berggruen & Cie, Paris
James Goodman Gallery, New York
Waddington Galleries, London
Private Collection, Japan
Private Collection, Switzerland
London, Waddington Galleries, Pablo Picasso 1881-1973, 1987, no. 25
London, Waddington Galleries, Twentieth Century Works, 1988, no. 14
Christian Zervos, Pablo Picasso, oeuvres de 1965 à 1967, vol. 25, Paris, 1972, no. 341, illustrated pl. 147
The Picasso Project, Picasso's Paintings, Watercolors, Drawings and Sculpture. The Sixties II, 1964-1967, no. 67-162, illustrated p. 232
At the time he completed the present work, Picasso was in his late eighties. It is believed that these pictures, featuring a virulent, playful and often flirtatious male figure, were meant to embody the artist’s lost youth and vigor. This depiction, as well as the others like it that Picasso completed around this time (see fig. 3), were understood to be disguised portraits of the artist himself and his wife, Jacqueline . The identity of the couple here is much more decipherable than in many of the other works of this period, with Jacqueline’s characteristic almond eyes and black hair tied up in a knot at the top of head and Picasso’s unmistakable bald, bulbous head and strong profile.
Gert Schiff has written about the significance of these pictures, observing how they offer an escape from the struggles of everyday life in a manner similar to Gauguin’s pictures of his Tahitian paradise: “Here the old artist revives one last time that dream which Paul Gauguin had impressed so forcibly upon his generation: the flight from civilization. To think there are whole peoples who lie in the sand and pipe upon bamboo canes! To think that it should be possible to rid oneself of all norms and necessities of modern life, of the curse of individuality – to live a life without memory, hence without death; to come into being and disintegrate like a plant and to span the interim safely embedded in the mythical collective of a primitive society. Could it be that the brain itself is the result of a faulty development? This question seems to lurk behind those large paintings like Nude Man and Woman and The Aubade in which Picasso transforms his bucolic figures into budding primeval giants” (Gert Schiff, Picasso, the last years, 1963-1973 (exhibition catalogue), The Grey Art Gallery, New York University, New York, 1983).
Fig. 1, Picasso in his studio surrounded by "The Artist and his Model" series, Mougins, 1963
Fig. 2, Pablo Picasso, Nu couché et homme jouant de la guitare, 1970, oil on canvas, Musée Picasso, Paris
Fig. 3, Pablo Picasso, Le peintre et son modèle, 1964, oil on canvas, sold: Sotheby's, London, February 8, 2005, lot 57
Fig. 4, Picasso and Jacqueline in the 1960s
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