Galerie Simon, Paris
Vladimir Goldschmann, New York
Durand-Ruel Galleries, New York
Justin K. Thannhauser, New York
Sale: Sotheby's, London, December 6, 1978, lot 271
Maxwell Davidson Gallery, New York (acquired at the above sale)
Acquired from the above by the present owner in May 1980
Christian Zervos, Pablo Picasso, vol. 9, Paris, 1958, no. 233, illustrated pl. 112
The Picasso Project, ed., Picasso's Paintings, Watercolors, Drawings and Sculpture. Spanish Civil War, 1937-1939, San Francisco, 1997, no. 38-178, illustrated p. 194 (titled Nature morte au compotier)
Picasso's still lifes from the 1930s mark the artist's innovative interpretation of Surrealist themes. Elements that are common to the genre of still life -- the table set with a glass, bowl of fruit and pitcher -- were undoubtedly reanalyzed for their Freudian connotations by the intellectuals within Picasso's circle, such as Jacques Lacan and Georges Bataille. While Picasso made no secret to the sexuality at the heart of even the most platonic of his compositions, he objected to providing frank interpretations to his pictures. "Sure, they're symbols, " he said of the elements in another painting from around the same time, "But it isn't up to the painter to create the symbols; otherwise, it would be better if he wrote them out in so many words instead of painting them.... It's up to the public to see what it want to see" (quoted in D. Ashton, Picasso on Art, A Selection of Views, New York, 1980, p. 155).
Nature morte -- Fruits, compotier, carafe sur une table was first handled by Picasso's dealer Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler through his gallery, which was known during the interwar years as Galerie Simon. The picture was then acquired by the French music conductor Vladimir Goldschmann, who had made a name for himself in the 1920s conducting productions of Sergei Diaghilev's Ballets russes and presumably met Picasso around that time. He eventually relocated to the United States, where he served as the music director of the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra between 1931 and 1958.
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