Lot 5
  • 5

Pablo Picasso

200,000 - 300,000 EUR
bidding is closed


  • Pablo Picasso
  • Compotier sur un meuble, February 18, 1920
  • gouache on paper
  • Signed Picasso, dated 18-2-20, dedicated Pour Eugénia and numbered 2 on the reverse
  • 15,8 x 10,9 cm; 6 1/4  x 4 1/4  in.


Eugenia Errasuriz, Paris and Biarritz (gift from the artist)
Private collection, France (from circa 1925)
Sotheby's, London, February 4, 2004, lot 464
Collection Jacques Grange, Paris

Catalogue Note

Claude Picasso has confirmed the authenticity of this work.

Dating from 1917-1918 Compotier sur un meuble is a work that signs the maturity, even the accomplishment of Picasso's synthetic Cubism and also announces a period of personal happiness in Picasso's life which coincided with the budding of new artistic techniques.

A few months after Cocteau introduced him to Diaghilev and the beginning of the Russian Ballet period, Picasso painted Compotier sur un meuble. This juxtaposition which led to an enmeshment of styles without the slightest anachronism or lack of taste is maybe one of the most astounding features of Picasso's art. The silent order and stability of Compotier sur un meuble are not incompatible with the sway of the curtains, the colourful fabrics and even the most traditional of his portraits painted at the same time – Picasso's genius and infinite plastic creativity do not seem to be moored in this negation. From the genre of still-life - the fetish genre of Cubism –– Picasso never ceased to question his art, to explore its form with ardour and rigour. In this condensed work of accomplished synthetism, Picasso once more and from nothing, demonstrated the possibility of a new organisation of forms for which the visible world is not enough. The research is severe. But such balance. The harmony of reconstructed forms is reinforced by the coherency of tone. The coherency of greys, browns, the densest of blacks, raw whites and ochres, is all the more evident just as within a muted or slightly brutalised chromatics, we perceive the softest of harmonies.

In 1916, in the dawning context of the Russian Ballet, Picasso met Olga Khokholova, a young and beautiful dark haired dancer born in the Russian Empire. Picasso married her in Paris in 1918 at the Saint-Alexandre-Nevsky Cathedral. Cocteau, Apollinaire and Max Jacob were witnesses of the marriage. Paulo was born in 1921. The portraits of his beloved such as Olga à la mantille and Olga au fauteuil are among the most beautiful. The recently married couples spent their honeymoon in Biarritz in the house of Eugenia Errasuriz. Photographed several times by Man Ray, an essential and elegant figure of fashion and taste as early as the end of the 19th century, Eugenia was the initial owner of the work. Picasso gave it to her. In 1915 it was Cocteau who introduced them to each other. She introduced him to the King of Spain. Picasso was to reign over the century.