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PROPERTY FROM A DISTINGUISHED PRIVATE COLLECTION

Pablo Picasso
HOMME À LA PIPE
Estimate
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Indicates that the lot is being sold whilst subject to Temporary Importation, and that VAT is due at the reduced rate
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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.
5,500,0007,500,000
LOT SOLD. 7,601,500 GBP
JUMP TO LOT
13

PROPERTY FROM A DISTINGUISHED PRIVATE COLLECTION

Pablo Picasso
HOMME À LA PIPE
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.
Artist's Resale Right
Purchase of lots marked with this symbol will be subject to the payment of the artist's resale right.
Double Dagger
Indicates that the lot is being sold whilst subject to Temporary Importation, and that VAT is due at the reduced rate
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.
5,500,0007,500,000
LOT SOLD. 7,601,500 GBP
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Impressionist & Modern Art Evening Sale

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London

Pablo Picasso
1881 - 1973
HOMME À LA PIPE
signed Picasso (upper right); dated 3.11.68. on the reverse
oil on canvas
146.4 by 89.5cm.
57 5/8 by 35 1/4 in.
Painted on 3rd November 1968.
Read Condition Report Read Condition Report

Provenance

Galerie Louise Leiris, Paris

Alexander Iolas, New York

Acquired from the above by the present owner in July 1984

Literature

Christian Zervos, Pablo Picasso, œuvres de 1967 et 1968, Paris, 1973, vol. 27, no. 362, illustrated pl. 143

Catalogue Note

Conceived on a grand scale and painted with real energy and invention, Homme à la pipe is a striking example of the artist’s mature work. Throughout his career Picasso referred to his painting acting as a diary of sorts and that is also very true of the art he made during the last years of his life. In 1961 he entered his eighth decade; as the acknowledged master of twentieth century art he had nothing to prove and yet, as he recalled, he was gripped by the feeling that he had, ‘less and less time and I have more and more to say’ (quoted in K. Gallwitz, Picasso Laureatus, Lausanne & Paris, 1971, p. 166). This feeling is the driving force behind the creativity and spontaneity of his mature work and his significant recourse to archetypal figures and symbols. The seemingly limitless energy that characterises so much of his work reaches its apotheosis in this final burst of creativity. Painted in the autumn of 1968, Homme à la pipe exemplifies this; the male figure, who is immediately recognisable as one of the musketeers that reappear throughout the paintings of this decade, is realised in quick, confident brushstrokes. The emphatic swirls of paint that fill the background contrast with the strong verticals of the pipe and chair, creating a powerful dynamic within the composition.         

By 1968 Picasso had left the villa La Californie where he had lived in the 1950s and settled in a new home in Mougins. Simonetta Fraquelli discusses this change in scenery and its impact on Picasso’s work: ‘In a bid for more privacy, Picasso and Jacqueline moved to the hilltop villa ‘Notre Dame de Vie’ near Mougins in 1961. The artist became more reclusive and this is reflected in his paintings which are more strikingly intimate and self-reflective, often concerned with his own mortality. For him, passivity signified death and the energy of his last works, with their summary abbreviations and speed of execution, demonstrate his desire to recapture a childlike form of expression. As the palette becomes looser and brightly coloured, the wilfully naïve style serves to emphasize their spirit of directness and intimacy’ (S. Fraquelli in Picasso. Challenging the Past (exhibition catalogue), National Gallery, London, 2009, p. 145).

Whilst stylistically his paintings become more spontaneous and vivid during this period, Picasso’s choice of subject is also indicative of his state of mind. It was in his hilltop home in Notre Dame de Vie that Picasso would further deepen his study of the old masters. According to Elizabeth Cowling ‘In old age, when he no longer went to Paris and left his country house outside Mougins with the greatest reluctance, Picasso immersed himself in masterpieces like Poussin’s Massacre of the Innocents (1630-1), Rembrandt’s Night Watch (1642) and a van Gogh Self Portrait (1889) by projecting slides blown up to a gigantic scale onto his studio wall’ (E. Cowling in ibid., pp. 12-13). Certain subjects and motifs appear and reappear in different guises in the paintings of the 1960s; the musketeer is a key figure, always signalling an allusion to the old masters and through that, Picasso’s desire to paint himself into the European artistic canon. When choosing a musketeer Picasso might also have had in mind the work of his old friend and rival, Matisse (fig. 2). When Matisse died in 1954, Picasso responded by beginning his celebrated Femmes d’Algers series, describing his work as a continuation of Matisse’ paintings, and the memory of that other ‘great’ of twentieth century art stayed with Picasso throughout his final years.

The significance of Picasso’s late paintings lies in the way that the artist incorporates the subjects and motifs of art historic tradition into works that are profoundly modern in their spirit and style. As Susan Galassi commented in 2009: ‘With this last chapter he closes the circle of his art and at the same time opens the way for a younger generation of artists, those who followed the abstract expressionists and reacted against their dogmatic cult of originality. For the 1960s pop artists and the succeeding generations of post modernists Picasso’s variations entered into the mainstream of iconic masterpieces and served themselves as source for re-creation’ (S. Galassi in ibid., p. 117). 

Impressionist & Modern Art Evening Sale

|
London