N08790

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Lot 111
  • 111

Pablo Picasso

Estimate
500,000 - 700,000 USD
Sold
1,022,500 USD
bidding is closed

Description

  • Pablo Picasso
  • Paysage à Mougins

  • Signed Picasso (lower left); dated 22.2.65. II (on the reverse)
  • Oil on canvas
  • 21 1/4 by 25 1/2 in.
  • 54 by 65 cm

Provenance

Joseph Spreiregen, Cannes
Gifted from the above in 1972

Literature

Christian Zervos, Pablo Picasso, Oeuvres de 1965-67, vol. XXV, no. 35, illustrated pl. 22
The Picasso Project, Picasso's Paintings, Watercolors, Drawings and Sculpture, 1964-1967, San Francisco, 2002, no. 65-042, illustrated
p. 154 

Catalogue Note

On March 2, 1961 Picasso married Jacqueline Roque following a prolonged courtship that had begun in the summer of 1952.  Tired of the constant invasion of their privacy at the Villa La Californie in Cannes, the couple retreated to a handsome, well-protected villa situated on a terraced hillside near Mougins.  The artist was to spend the last twelve years of his life here, and Paysage à Mougins evinces some of the traits and preoccupations of Picasso's late work.

 

The present painting depicts Mougins in swirling strokes of blue, green and yellow pigment.  Paysage à Mougins, like many of Picasso's unpopulated views of the town, is a continuation of the pastoral theme that dominated his oeuvre between 1966 and 1968.  While there are no figures in these works, they share to some extent the bucolic feel that characterizes Picasso's paintings of couples, nudes and fauns comporting themselves in the landscape. These late visions of Arcadian harmony are indicative of the ageing artist's desire to retreat from civilization and towards a rural idyll which mingled both classical Greece and the artist's childhood memories from rustic Spain.

 

Picasso's Arcadia, however, was not a simple vision of innocence but contains a darker undercurrent.  As in so many of the works from Picasso's late period, there is another artist persona present, in this case, Van Gogh.  For Picasso, the Dutch artist exemplified artistic sincerity; Van Gogh's psychological intensity and spiritual tumult effectively isolated him from contamination by the pressures of commerce and fame.  Thus, as  Picasso sought to distance himself from his own celebrity, he turned towards the convulsive landscapes of his predecessor.  The kinetic brushwork of Paysage à Mougins gives the paint surface a freedom and spontaneity that certainly suggests a debt to the expressive fervor of Van Gogh's technique (see fig. 1).  However, the connection between the two artists at this point in Picasso's life went deeper than a mere artistic identification.  As John Richardson observed, "The more one studies these late paintings, the more one realizes that they are, like Van Gogh's terminal landscapes, a supreme affirmation of life in the teeth of death" (John Richardson, "L'Epoque Jacqueline," Late Picasso, Paintings, Sculpture, Drawings Prints 1953-1972 (exhibition catalogue), The Tate Gallery, London, 1988, p. 34).

 

Fig. 1  Vincent Van Gogh, Olive Grove, oil on canvas, Göteborgs Konstmuseum, Sweden

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