120
120

PROPERTY FROM A PRIVATE FRENCH COLLECTION

Pablo Picasso
TAUREAU
JUMP TO LOT
120

PROPERTY FROM A PRIVATE FRENCH COLLECTION

Pablo Picasso
TAUREAU
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Impressionist & Modern Art Day Sale

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London

Pablo Picasso
1881 - 1973
TAUREAU
dated 7.4.57. and stamped with the foundry mark C. Valsuani Cire Perdue
bronze
height: 11.5cm., 4 1/2 in.
Conceived in terracotta in 1957 and cast in bronze by the Valsuani Foundry, Paris in an edition of two. The present work was cast on 7th April 1957.
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Claude Picasso has confirmed the authenticity of this work.

Provenance

Galerie Louise Leiris, Paris
Private Collection, New England (sale: Sotheby's, New York, 13th November 1996, lot 291)
Private Collection, Europe (purchased at the above sale)
Acquired from the above by the present owner in 2012

Literature

Werner Spies, Sculpture by Picasso, New York, 1971, no. 527, illustration of another cast p. 292
Werner Spies, Picasso Sculpteur, Paris, 2000, no. 527, illustration of another cast p. 381

Catalogue Note

The symbolism of the bull captivated Picasso and provided him with ample inspiration to represent and rework the subject obsessively throughout his œuvre and across a vast variety of mediums. For Picasso the imagery of the bull was inexhaustible. Cast in 1957 Taureau is from a series of sculptures that the artist created in Cannes. During the 1950s and as a result of the Spanish Civil War and his support for the defeated Republicans, Picasso was living in the South of France where he would regularly seek out French corridas to feel some sense of affiliation with his estranged homeland.

Speaking of Picasso’s love for the corrida, his friend Hélène Parmelin wrote: 'Bulls everywhere. Picasso at the corrida is like a swimmer in the sea. Whenever there’s one within reach, he goes to it. [… ] The corrida is a summer current that carries the destinies of Sundays marvellously and inexorably away; it is a festival; it is the blood beating with the rising sun, whether with good or bad humour matters little: it is a corrida day.' (H. Parmelin, Picasso Plain: An Intimate Portrait, London, 1963, p. 140).  Picasso was fascinated by the drama and violence of bullfighting as a spectacle, whilst also attracted by the subject’s deeply Spanish origins, which allowed him to thematically link his work with the country of his birth, reflecting on his Spanish heritage and personal identity through the bull’s symbol of masculinity. 

Taureau is a product of vigorous shaping and reworking of the original raw material as the animal’s extremities have been manipulated from the bulk of the body. Picasso plays with the concept of the bull, abstracting it until the animal’s features are pared down to its most simplified form. Taureau draws attention only to the most expressive features of the animal. The thick bars of bronze reflect the strength and power of the bull whilst complementing the jagged horns that define its identity. The upward tilt of the horns is almost phallic and further exaggerates the bull as a symbol of masculinity.

Taureau is an emotive and symbolic representation of a creature whose meaning is ever shifting and timelessly enthralling. Appearing often in the guise of a minotaur, and most famously in Picasso’s work Guernica, the bull bleeds through the artist’s output and permeates his legacy. The bull provides Picasso with an interminable platform upon which to synthesise Classical mythology, his Spanish heritage, the history of the corrida and cherished elements from his past.

Impressionist & Modern Art Day Sale

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London