Lot 110
  • 110

Pablo Picasso

100,000 - 150,000 USD
209,000 USD
bidding is closed


  • Pablo Picasso
  • Le Masque
  • Hand-painted and incised hammered metal


Estate of the artist (inventory no. 56040)
Marina Picasso, France (the artist’s granddaughter; by descent from the above)
Acquired from the above


New York, Jan Krugier Gallery, Masters of Modern Sculpture, 1989, no. 27
Geneva, Musée Barbier-Mueller, Picasso L'Africain, 1998, no. 33, illustrated in color in the catalogue
Berlin, Kupferstichkabinett, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin - Preussischer Kulturbesitz, Linie, Licht und Schatten. Meisterzeichnungen und Skulpturen der Sammlung Jan und Marie-Anne Krugier-Poniatowski, 1999, no. 182, illustrated in color in the catalogue
Madrid, Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Miradas sin Tiempo. Dibujos, Pinturas y Esculturas de la Coleccion Jan y Marie-Anne Krugier-Poniatowski, 2000, no. 216, illustrated in color in the catalogue
Bern, Kunstmuseum, Picasso und die Schweiz, 2001-02, no. 143, illustrated in color in the catalogue
Vienna, Albertina Museum, Goya bis Picasso. Meisterwerke der Sammlung Jan Krugier und Marie-Anne Krugier-Poniatowski, 2005, no. 161, illustrated in color in the catalogue
Paris, Fondation Dina Vierny - Musée Maillol, Le Feu sous les Cendres, de Picasso à Basquiat, 2005-06, n.n., illustrated in color in the catalogue
Munich, Kunsthalle der Hypo-Kulturstiftung, Das Ewige Auge - Von Rembrandt bis Picasso. Meisterwerke aus der Sammlung Jan Krugier und Marie-Anne Krugier-Poniatowski, 2007, no. 196, illustrated in color in the catalogue


Werner Spies & Christine Piot, Picasso: The Sculptures. Catalogue raisonné of the sculptures, New York, 2000, no. 450A, illustrated p. 376

Catalogue Note

A unique, hand-painted mask of incised and hammered metal, the present work brilliantly embodies three of the artist’s lifelong passions, for Picasso here succeeds in marrying his love of disguise and theatre and his fascination for tribal art with a playful spontaneity and sureness of hand that reflect his equal joy in experimenting with sculpture. Picasso’s move to Vallauris at the end of the war and his acquisition in 1950 of a disused scent factory, which he transformed into a sculpture workshop and studio, had prompted something of a renaissance in his three-dimensional work. This period of intense activity produced some of his most inventive sculptures yet.

The large docile eyes and curvaceous lips delicately delineated in white in the present work are remarkably evocative of a Mukuyi mask which once hung in Picasso’s apartment on boulevard de Clichy (see fig. 2) and now belongs to the Musée Picasso in Paris, having remained in the artist’s personal collection throughout his lifetime. It was a particular favorite, as Fernande Olivier recalled fondly: “Picasso especially liked a little mask of a woman whose painted white face stands out against the natural wood color of her hair and gives her a strangely soft expression” (Fernande Olivier, Picasso et ses amis, Paris, 1933, p. 170, translated from the French).

Writing on the subject of Picasso’s enduring fascination with masks, Roland Penrose notes that they appealed to the artist’s playful side: “Throughout life Picasso has been fascinated by the changes in personality that masks and disguises can bring about… In his studio he still keeps at hand a great variety of masks, hats and disguises which he delights in using, sometimes as a means of lowering the tension caused by the arrival of admiring visitors. The success of these tactics is unfailing. Picasso the buffoon appears where a minute ago stood Picasso the great artist. The piercing black eyes which before disquieted the newcomer now laugh through some grotesque disguise that has temporarily changed his personality. It is another example of Picasso’s love of transformation” (Roland Penrose, “Introduction” in Edward Quinn, Picasso at Work, New York, 1964, p. 12).