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PROPERTY OF AN IMPORTANT EUROPEAN COLLECTOR

Pablo Picasso
MOUSQUETAIRE
Estimate
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Lots with this symbol indicate that a party has provided Sotheby’s with an irrevocable bid on the lot that will be executed during the sale at a value that ensures that the lot will sell. The irrevocable bidder, who may bid in excess of the irrevocable bid, will be compensated based on the final hammer price in the event he or she is not the successful bidder or may receive a fixed fee in the event he or she is the successful bidder. If the irrevocable bidder is the successful bidder, the fixed fee (if applicable) for providing the irrevocable bid may be netted against the irrevocable bidder’s obligation to pay the full purchase price for the lot and the purchase price reported for the lot shall be net of such fixed fee. If the irrevocable bid is not secured until after the printing of the auction catalogue, a pre-lot announcement will be made indicating that there is an irrevocable bid on the lot. If the irrevocable bidder is advising anyone with respect to the lot, Sotheby’s requires the irrevocable bidder to disclose his or her financial interest in the lot. If an agent is advising you or bidding on your behalf with respect to a lot identified as being subject to an irrevocable bid, you should request that the agent disclose whether or not he or she has a financial interest in the lot.
Guaranteed Property
Guaranteed Property. The seller of lots with this symbol has been guaranteed a minimum price from one auction or a series of auctions. If every lot in a catalogue is guaranteed, the Conditions of Sale will so state and this symbol will not be used for each lot.
4,000,0006,000,000
LOT SOLD. 4,500,000 USD
JUMP TO LOT
35

PROPERTY OF AN IMPORTANT EUROPEAN COLLECTOR

Pablo Picasso
MOUSQUETAIRE
Estimate
Irrevocable Bids
Lots with this symbol indicate that a party has provided Sotheby’s with an irrevocable bid on the lot that will be executed during the sale at a value that ensures that the lot will sell. The irrevocable bidder, who may bid in excess of the irrevocable bid, will be compensated based on the final hammer price in the event he or she is not the successful bidder or may receive a fixed fee in the event he or she is the successful bidder. If the irrevocable bidder is the successful bidder, the fixed fee (if applicable) for providing the irrevocable bid may be netted against the irrevocable bidder’s obligation to pay the full purchase price for the lot and the purchase price reported for the lot shall be net of such fixed fee. If the irrevocable bid is not secured until after the printing of the auction catalogue, a pre-lot announcement will be made indicating that there is an irrevocable bid on the lot. If the irrevocable bidder is advising anyone with respect to the lot, Sotheby’s requires the irrevocable bidder to disclose his or her financial interest in the lot. If an agent is advising you or bidding on your behalf with respect to a lot identified as being subject to an irrevocable bid, you should request that the agent disclose whether or not he or she has a financial interest in the lot.
Guaranteed Property
Guaranteed Property. The seller of lots with this symbol has been guaranteed a minimum price from one auction or a series of auctions. If every lot in a catalogue is guaranteed, the Conditions of Sale will so state and this symbol will not be used for each lot.
4,000,0006,000,000
LOT SOLD. 4,500,000 USD
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Impressionist & Modern Art Evening Sale

|
New York

Pablo Picasso
1881 - 1973
MOUSQUETAIRE
Signed Picasso (lower right); dated 21.4.67 III. (on the reverse)
Oil on canvas
45 5/8 by 35 in.
116 by 89 cm
Painted on April 21, 1967.
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Provenance

Alex Maguy, Paris

Private Collection (acquired circa 1977)

Thence by descent

Literature

Christian Zervos, Pablo Picasso, Paris, 1972, vol. XXV, no. 344, illustrated pl. 150

Catalogue Note

Mousquetaire, Picasso's richly-colored depiction of his alter-ego, is a testament to the artist’s stamina and powerful creative expression. Picasso painted this picture in the spring of 1967, when the prominence of youth culture and “free love” dominated cultural consciousness. Although he had outlived many of his contemporaries by this point, including Matisse, Picasso remained at the forefront of the avant-garde and the heroic musketeer served as his youthful avatar during the final years of his life. "You see, this isn't over!" Picasso exclaimed to his friend Helene Parmelin around this time, "I still have things to say" (quoted in H. Parmelin, "Picasso on his Little Terrace" reprinted in Picasso Mosqueteros (exhibition catalogue), Gagosian Gallery, New York, 2009). 

Parmelin wrote at length about Picasso’s paintings of the late 1960s, many of which she saw under production at the artist's studio at Notre-Dame-de-Vie: "During Picasso's last years — marked by his Avignon paintings — he often speaks of the obscure direction that his research has taken, a movement closer and closer to reality. The canvas becomes so true that, he says, 'One can no longer see the difference between it and reality. It is natural.'" (Op. cit., p. 288). Picasso's objective to paint 'nature' is in direct opposition to the examples of abstraction and minimalism that proliferated the art world during the 1960s. Grounding his work in figuration, he embarked on a major series of monumental paintings featuring the theme of the musketeer, which became one of the key subjects of his late work. Picasso had devoted a large portion of his time and passion throughout the 1960s to the reinterpretation and investigation of the old masters, an experience in which he reaffirmed his connection to some of the greatest painters in the history of art. The musketeer series was a continuation of this interest and began, according to his wife Jacqueline Roque, "when Picasso started to study Rembrandt," but his appreciation of other great figures of the Renaissance, including Shakespeare, also influenced the appearance of these characters.

Towards the end of his life, the image of the musketeer evoked Picasso's Spanish heritage and his nostalgia for the youthful vigor of his early years. As Marie-Laure Bernadac has observed: "If woman was depicted in all her aspects in Picasso's art, man always appeared in disguise or in a specific role, the painter at work or the musketeer. In 1966, a new and final character emerged in Picasso’s iconography and dominated his last period to the point of becoming its emblem. This was the Golden Age gentleman, a half-Spanish, half-Dutch musketeer dressed in richly adorned clothing complete with ruffs, a cape, boots, and a big plumed hat … All of these musketeers are men in disguise, romantic gentlemen, virile and arrogant soldiers, vainglorious and ridiculous despite their haughtiness. Dressed, armed, and helmeted, this man is always seen in action; sometimes the musketeer even takes up a brush and becomes the painter" (B. Léal, C. Piot & M.-L. Bernadac, The Ultimate Picasso, New York, 2000, p. 455).

As the character of the musketeer developed in Picasso’s paintings in the late 1960s and early 1970s, he became a multi-dimensional figure, exhibiting a range of characters including card players, musicians and pipe smokers, often with swords or accompanied by female nudes. The present work features the character in a bust-portrait, reminiscent of the noble self-portraits of the old masters with whom the artist identified during his final years. The influence of salon painters such as Velázquez and Delacroix are evident in Picasso’s works from this period, yet with his fluid technique, Picasso made no attempt here to create a realistic portrait. Rather, his flat layers of paint give the musketeer’s face a mask-like quality and his garment are reduced to geometric planes and undulating lines. The energy which results from this synthesis of styles and subject matter reflects the passion Picasso maintained into his later years.

Impressionist & Modern Art Evening Sale

|
New York