Lot 1
  • 1


300,000 - 500,000 EUR
bidding is closed


  • César
  • Le Centaure 
  • signed, numbered 3/8 and inscribed with the foundry mark Bocquel 
  • welded bronze assemblage
  • 155 x 75 x 160 cm; 61 x 29  1⁄2  x 63 in.
  • Conceived in 1983, this work is number 3 from an edition of 8 plus 2 artist's proofs.


Private Collection
Sale: Perrin, Royère, Lajeunesse, 28 May 1989, lot 110
Collection Alain & Candice Fraiberger 


Antibes, Musée Picasso, 1986 (other example)
Marseille, Centre de la Vieille Charité, César, Oeuvres de 1947 à 1993, July - September 1993; catalogue, pp. 108, 140, illustrated (other example) 
Paris, Galerie Nationale du jeu de Paume, César, 10 juin - 19 octobre 1997; catalogue, p. 151 (other example) 
Rabat, Musée Mohammed VI d'Art Moderne et Contemporain, César, une histoire méditerranéenne, December 2015 - March 2016; catalogue, pp. 25, 30, 33, 54, illustrated in colour (other example) 
Another large example in on permanent display at the Place Michel Debré, Paris, since 1985


Catalogue des Salons d'Automne, 1987, illustrated on the cover (other example)
Pierre Restany, César, Paris, 1988, p. 298, illustrated in colour (other example)
La Gazette, 2 June 1989, n.p., no. 22, illustrated
Jean-Charles Hachet, César ou la Métamorphose d'un Grand Art, 1989, p. 80, n° 165b (other example)
Francis Patent, Ancrages Magazine, juin 1990, no. 2, n.p. (other example)
Exh. cat., H. Lévy, César: Les BronzesSète, Musée Paul-Valéry, 1991, p. 31, 51, illustrated (other example)
Galerie Enrico Navarra, César : Œuvre Monumentales, Paris, 1996, p. 68, illustrated in colour (other example)

Catalogue Note

César was fascinated by horses and like to remind his students at the Fine Arts School in Paris that the 20th century was the first non-equestrian century in the history of humanity.

In 1967 when the curator of the Musée Picasso called upon contemporary artists to celebrate the painter of Demoiselles d'Avignon who had passed away three years earlier, César immediately thought of the centaur, the inverted double of the Minotaur that inhabited the work of the Catalan artist.

A hybrid mythological creature, half-man, half-animal, the centaur embodies wild strength, speed, the spirit of conquest. Built of an assemblage of metallic plates, molds and everyday objects molded in bronze, César's version is both powerful and excessively delicate. The artist took particular care over the details of the hands and feet in a way that is reminiscent of classical equestrian sculpture. The face is also intriguing and resembles the artist in its rifts and angles. A mask representing Picasso's face covers it, heightening the impression that this self-portrait is much more obsequious than it seems.

A major piece in César's career that many consider to be one of the masterpieces of the history of statuary, Le Centaure (Hommage à Picasso) is the perfect synthesis between classicism and modernism. Composed of clear cut contours and broken angles, the work breaks with abstraction and employs the most contemporary of materials and techniques. Le Centuare (Hommage à Picasso) is thus a complex work of many meanings and which embodies the singularity of César's artistic approach.  Its eloquence is intensified by its large size that pulls the spectator into an encounter or even a confrontation.

César and Candice Fraiberger, March 1991 © D.R. © SBJ/ADAGP, Paris 2017