Details & Cataloguing

Impressionist & Modern Art Day Sale


Pablo Picasso
1881 - 1973
signed Picasso (lower left)
oil on canvas
35.7 by 47cm., 14 by 18 1/2 in.
Painted in 1922.
Read Condition Report Read Condition Report


Galerie Louise Leiris, Paris
Galerie Berggruen, Paris (acquired by 1960)
Norman Granz, Geneva (sale: Sotheby's, 23rd April 1968, lot 31)
Sam Spiegel, U.S.A. (his estate; sale: Sotheby's, New York, 11th May 1987, lot 3)
Helly Nahmad Gallery, London (purchased at the above sale)
Private Collection, Switzerland (acquired from the above)
Simon C. Dickinson Ltd, London
Acquired from the above by the present owner in March 2007


London, Tate Gallery, Picasso, 1960, no. 102, illustrated in the catalogue
London, Helly Nahmad Gallery, Picasso, Artist of the Century, 1998, no. 14
Rotterdam, Kunsthal Rotterdam, Picasso - Kunstenaar van de eeuw, 1999, no. 19


Christian Zervos, Pablo Picasso, Supplément aux volumes 1 à 5, Paris, 1954, vol. VI, no. 1433, illustrated p. 171

Catalogue Note

Painted in 1922, Peinture (Compotier, bouteille et paquet de cigarettes) marks a pivotal moment in Picasso’s career. Recalling both his Cubist works of a decade earlier and the neo-classical style that had dominated his œuvre in the post-war years, the present work is a masterful synthesis of these very different approaches. Picasso’s work was characterised by his versatility of style and radical innovation from the very beginning, yet in the years during, and directly following the First World War, the tension between his different stylistic approaches came to the fore.

The present work is one of a series of still lifes, beginning as early as 1919, in which the compotier makes a recurrent appearance in combination with other still-life items. This consistency of subject matter allowed Picasso to focus his attention on formal experimentation, enabling him to develop the still-life theme in hitherto unexplored directions. Employing the flat, geometric planes associated with his Cubist works, Peinture (Compotier, bouteille et paquet de cigarettes) distorts perspective even further, seemingly amalgamating the horizontal and vertical elements of the picture plane so that the nature of traditional dimensionality is questioned.

Discussing this highly significant phase of Picasso’s career, John Richardson notes that these still-lifes ‘are astonishingly varied in their dazzling colours, elaborate patterning, rich textures and complex compositions. No longer did Picasso feel obliged to investigate the intricate formal and spatial problems that had preoccupied him ten years before. Instead he felt free to relax and exploit his cubist discoveries in a decorative manner that delights the eye’ (John Richardson, Picasso, An American Tribute (exhibition catalogue), Knoedler Galleries, New York, 1962).

Impressionist & Modern Art Day Sale