330

Details & Cataloguing

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Pablo Picasso
1881 - 1973
ÉTUDE POUR LYSISTRATA
inscribed Paris and dated 18 Decembre XXXIII- (I) on the verso
pencil on paper
20.1 by 26.9cm., 7⅞ by 10½in.
Executed in Paris on 18th December 1933.
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Claude Picasso has confirmed the authenticity of this work.

Provenance

Estate of the Artist
Marina Picasso (the artist's granddaughter, by descent from the above; sale: Sotheby's, New York, 18th May 2017, lot 99)
Purchased at the above sale by the present owner

Exhibited

Jerusalem, The Israel Museum, Picasso the Draughtsman, 103 Works from the Marina Picasso Collection, 1993, no. 64

Catalogue Note

In 1934, Picasso was commissioned by George Macey, founder of the Limited Editions Club, to illustrate a special edition of Aristophanes’ comedy Lysistrata. The Greek play centres around a group of women who pledge to withhold sex from their husbands in a bid to end the Peloponnesian War. Picasso’s clarity of form and line, combined with the expressive sensuality of his drawings, complement the ancient classical text and offer a prescient backdrop to the artist’s later anti-war works.

Picasso’s Étude pour Lysistrata portrays a poignant tableau through the artful division of the composition. The left half of the work depicts the men of Sparta armed and at council whilst the right half portrays the heroine Lysistrata rallying support from the women. These opposing methods of combat are juxtaposed to capture the drama’s comedic crux. The women’s raised arms powerfully counter the pointed and suggestively phallic weaponry of the men.

The completed illustrated book for which the study was intended comprises of six original etchings and thirty-four block reproductions after Picasso’s drawings.

Impressionist & Modern Art Day Sale

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London