18
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PROPERTY FROM THE COLLECTION OF MARIO VALENTINO

Pablo Picasso
NU ASSIS APPUYÉ SUR DES COUSSINS
JUMP TO LOT
18

PROPERTY FROM THE COLLECTION OF MARIO VALENTINO

Pablo Picasso
NU ASSIS APPUYÉ SUR DES COUSSINS
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Impressionist & Modern Art Evening Sale

|
London

Pablo Picasso
1881 - 1973
NU ASSIS APPUYÉ SUR DES COUSSINS
signed Picasso (upper left); dated 19.12.64.V on the reverse
oil on canvas
54 by 65cm.
21 1/4 by 25 5/8 in.
Painted on 19th December 1964.
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Provenance

Galerie Louise Leiris, Paris

Centro d’Arte 'Il Segno', Caserta, Italy

Mario Valentino, Naples (acquired from the above in 1986)

Thence by descent to the present owner

Literature

Christian Zervos, Pablo Picasso, œuvres de 1964, Paris, 1971, vol. 24, no. 339, illustrated pl. 133

Catalogue Note

The subject of the female nude was a recurrent motif throughout Picasso’s œuvre, and the women depicted in his paintings were always influenced by Picasso’s female companions at the time. In Nu assis appuyé sur des coussins, the model is inspired by Jacqueline, the last love of his life, whom Picasso married in 1961. Discussing the role Jacqueline would go on to take in Picasso’s life and art John Richardson wrote: ‘It is Jacqueline's image that permeates Picasso's work from 1954 until his death, twice as long as any of her predecessors […]. It is her body that we are able to explore more exhaustively and more intimately than any other body in the history of art. It is her solicitude and patience that sustained the artist in the face of declining health and death and enabled him to be more productive than ever before and to go on working into his ninety-second year. And lastly it is her vulnerability that gives a new intensity to the combination of cruelty and tenderness that endows Picasso's paintings of women with their pathos and their strength’ (J. Richardson in Late Picasso (exhibition catalogue), Tate Gallery, London, 1988, p. 47).

The motif of a reclining female nude occurred repeatedly throughout Picasso’s career. He renders the nude in the present work through loosely connected patches of colour, a method of composition that clearly describes the process of painting. The nude, in other words, is intimately connected with Picasso’s physical action of painting. While varying in style and depicting different women that marked each period of the artist’s life, these figures generally served as a vehicle for expressing the palpable sexual tension between the painter and his model. From soft, voluptuous curves of Marie-Thérèse Walter, to the fragmented, near-abstract nudes of his surrealist work, and the exaggerated rendering of his later years, Picasso’s nudes are invariably depicted with a powerful sense of psychological drama stemming from the tension between the invisible artist and his sitter. Although the figure of the painter is not portrayed within the composition, his persona is very much present in this work. Picasso’s concerns regarding the act of painting and the role of the artist, explored in the series of works on the theme of artist and model, carried onto his series of reclining nudes, including Nu assis appuyé sur des coussins. The figure is not isolated in her own world – her significance is in her relationship with her creator at the same time as with the viewer – a tantalising relationship of attraction and power.

Marie-Laure Bernadac wrote that in 1964 ’after isolating the painter in a series of portraits, it was logical that Picasso should now paint the model alone: that is to say a nude woman lying on a divan, offered up to the painter's eyes and to the man's desire. It is characteristic of Picasso, in contrast to Matisse and many other twentieth-century painters, that he takes as his model – or as his Muse – the woman he loves and who lives with him, not a professional model. So what his paintings show is never a “model” of a woman, but woman as model. This has its consequences for his emotional as well as his artistic life: for the beloved woman stands for “painting,” and the painted woman is the beloved: detachment is an impossibility’ (M.-L. Bernadac, in ibid., p. 78).

Impressionist & Modern Art Evening Sale

|
London