- Pablo Picasso
- LE PEINTRE ET SON MODÈLE
- signed Picasso (lower right); dated 4.5.63. on the reverse
- oil on canvas
Alexander Iolas, Paris
Acquired from the above by the present owner in 1982
The Picasso Project, Picasso's Paintings, Watercolors, Drawings and Sculpture. The Sixties I, 1960-1963, San Francisco, 2002, no. 63-130, illustrated p. 367
The early to mid 1960s marked a period of great synthesis for Picasso, reflected in the theme of the artist and his model, which preoccupied him during this time. It proved to be one of his most passionate and energetic projects, inspired by the final love of Picasso's life, Jacqueline, whom he married in 1961. The artist first explored this subject intensively in the spring of 1963, dividing the pictorial space between the painter and his model. In the present work, as is usually the case, each of them occupies its own domain, separated by the vertical easel between them. It is the large figure of the painter that dominates in the present composition, his easel lit by the lamp above it, however it is the female model, painted in quick brushstrokes of bright green and pink hues, who stands out against the darkness that envelopes the room.
The relationship and synergy between the artist and model was one of profound complexity, 'the more Picasso painted this theme, the more he pushed the artist-model relationship towards its ultimate conclusion: the artist embraces his model, cancelling out the barrier of the canvas and transforming the artist-model relationship into a man-woman relationship. Painting is an act of love, according to Gert Schiff, and John Richardson speaks of 'sex as metaphor for art, and art as a metaphor for sex' (Marie-Laure Bernadac, 'Picasso 1953-1972: Painting as Model', in Late Picasso (exhibition catalogue), Tate Gallery, London, 1988, p. 77). With her voluptuous curves and long black hair, the model represents the object of the artist's desire, the picture's erotic undertone emphasised by the gap between art and reality, between the ageing painter and his young muse. Picasso's waning sexual potency is countered by his power of vision and creativity, by the swift, confident application of paint, and the remarkably bold free-flowing treatment of colour.