Lot 10
  • 10

Pablo Picasso

1,200,000 - 1,800,000 USD
2,045,000 USD
bidding is closed


  • Pablo Picasso
  • Deux hirondelles
  • Dated 14 Mai XXXII and inscribed Boisgeloup on the reverse
  • Oil on canvas


Estate of the artist

Marina Picasso

Galerie Louise Leiris, Paris

Stephen Hahn, New York

Thence by descent 


Christian Zervos, ed., Picasso, 1930-1935, Paris, 1935, illustrated p. 99

Christian Zervos, Pablo Picasso, vol. 7, Paris, 1955, no. 342, illustrated p. 143 (as dating from 1931)

Carsten-Peter Warncke, Pablo Picasso, 1881-1973, vol. 1, Cologne, 1994, illustrated in color p. 21

The Picasso Project, ed., Picasso's Paintings, Watercolors, Drawings and Sculpture, Surrealism, 1930-1936, San Francisco, 1997, no. 31-106, illustrated p. 47 (incorrectly dating from Winter 1931)

Catalogue Note

Painted on May 14, 1932 at the height of his clandestine affair with Marie-Thérèse Walter, the present composition is one of Picasso's symbolically-loaded works from this dramatic period of his life.  Two birds in flight are in pursuit of their prey, with one having already succeeded in capturing a worm.  The picture is one of the clearest metaphorical representations of his love life, contrasting the fair and victorious Marie-Thérèse with a dark and flailing Olga.  

Stylistically, the picture is anomalous among Picasso's production during these months, which included depictions of his estate at Boisgeloup, drawings for the Vollard suite, brutally abstracted images of Olga and, perhaps most famously, sensuously organic images of Marie Thérèse.   The subject here call to mind Braque's canvases of birds during this period, of which Picasso would have no doubt been aware.  The angularity and sharpness of forms can also be likened to the linear iron sculptures of Julio Gonzalez, with whom Picasso had collaborated in the late 1920s.  Having presumably not seen the date on the stretcher of this canvas, Zervos dated this work to 1931, perhaps because of the similarities in tonality it had to other works of that year.  Picasso's most significant productions of that year were the large plaster busts of Marie-Thérèse that he completed in the carriage house a Boisgeloup, which are famously featured in the stark black and white photographs taken by Brassai.  The dramatic contrast of the white plaster within the darkened interior of the studio informed his palette during these months, and some of his most inspired compositions feature this dramatic black and white tonality.