Lot 24
  • 24

Pablo Picasso

600,000 - 800,000 USD
bidding is closed


  • Pablo Picasso
  • Cigare 
  • Painted wood
  • Length: 4 1/2 in.
  • 11.4 cm


Dora Maar, Paris (a gift from the artist and sold by the Estate: Piasa, Paris, May 26, 1999, lot 4)

Private Collection (acquired at the above sale and sold: Sotheby’s, London, June 24, 2003, lot 154)

Jan Krugier, Switzerland (acquired at the above sale and sold by the Estate: Christie’s, New York, A Dialogue Through Art: Works from the Jan Krugier Collection Evening Sale, November 4, 2013, lot 1 )

Acquired at the above sale


Paris, Musée National d'Art Moderne, Centre Georges Pompidou, Picasso, sculpteur, 2000, no. 146


Brassaï & David Henri Kahnweiler, The Sculptures of Picasso, London, 1949, no. 117 illustrated n.p.

Werner Spies, Sculpture by Picasso, With A Catalogue of the Works, New York, 1971, no. 199, illustrated, p. 278

Werner Spies & Christine Piot, Picasso: Das plastische Werk, Stuttgart, 1983, no. 199, p. 381; illustrated p. 341 (with incorrect dimensions)

Werner Spies & Christine, Picasso, sculpteur, Paris, 2000, no. 199, p. 402; illustrated in color p. 224; illustrated p. 361

Brassaï/Picasso: conversations avec la lumière (exhibition catalogue), Musée Picasso, Paris, 2000, illustrated pp. 284-85

Picasso, Life with Dora Maar: Love and War 1935-1945 (exhibition catalogue), National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, 2006, p. 252

Catalogue Note

A part of Dora Maar’s collection until her death in 1997, Cigare exemplifies Picasso’s unstoppable creative output, even in the midst of the devastation and deprivation of Nazi-occupied Paris. As a result of his classification as a degenerate artist, Picasso was banned from exhibiting or publishing any of his work during the war years. Moreover, he was watched closely by the authorities and in turn had to witness the departure of many of his closest friends and dealers. After several months in Royan immediately following the Occupation, Picasso returned to Paris in August of 1940. Instead of resuming residency in his home at 23 rue La Boétie, he moved in to his studio on the rue des Grands Augustins. His move to his studio was likely precipitated by several factors, both the practicality of moving around Paris during these years as well as the looting of Paul Rosenberg’s gallery by the Nazis in the fall of 1940. Rosenberg’s gallery, directly next to Picasso’s residence, would become some months later the Institute d’Étude des Questions Juives (Institute for the Study of the Jewish Question). A less friendly neighbor was hard to imagine. Metal in general and bronze in particular, as well as foundries who handled these materials, were under intensive scrutiny during wartime. Picasso relocated many of his sculptures from foundries as well as his country home in Boisgeloup to his studio in Paris. There, in the bathroom, which was the only room he could properly heat, Picasso continued to create sculpture. The bathtub held the plaster model of Le Chat and the same year that Cigare was created, Picasso would sculpt Tête de mort and his monumental Tête de femme. At night, Picasso and his friends would secretly transport plasters to foundries and bronzes back from them, often hidden in a wheelbarrow. Casting sculpture in bronze was forbidden at this time but the artist, his friends and dealers found ways around these restrictions. Not all of his sculptural output was made in such large scale or of such immutable materials. Everything in Paris was precious at this time and Picasso created delicate sculpted works from paper table cloths, bits of string, thin wires and, in the case of Cigare, found pieces of wood.

In her exploration of Picasso and Dora’s life together, Anne Baldassari writes of these magical objects: “Picasso worked on an ironic game that consisted of turning himself into a counterfeiter of the real…. The slow burning imitation cigar, made of painted wood [the present work], the bird fluttering on its wire twig and the paper flower planted in a crust of bread all bear witness to the impoverished state of the times. This treasure trove also includes masks made from paper restaurant table covers and napkins, objects made from bottle tops and twisted wires, from tobacco tins and embellished matchboxes. Brassaï’s interpretation through these ghostly images of the story of Picasso and Dora forms a sort of inventory of fetishes and pretenses of ‘tricks and trompe l’oeil, full of humor and mischief,’ that attest to the inventiveness of their collaborative legend: ‘with the utmost care, she took them out the other day for me [Brassaï] to photograph…. The numerous papers and pieces of card cut out with scissors or torn into silhouettes by hand are quite enchanting…” (Picasso, Life with Dora Maar: Love and War 1935-1945, Op. cit., p 252).

Claude Picasso has confirmed the authenticity of this work.