S otheby’s is pleased to present an auction focused on Spanish artists of the 20th Century. Featuring Property from the Distinguished Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Maurice H. Swergold and from Picasso First Hand: Works from the Marina Picasso Collection. The auction encompasses over 100 years of paintings, works on paper, sculptures, prints, and ceramics by artists born in Spain. The auction is on view on the 5th floor galleries at Sotheby’s New York through April 13th.
1902Picasso developed an interest in art at a young age, and his father encouraged a formal training, including classes at Madrid's Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando. In this drawing we see Picasso’s early sketching process. Among the several themes and vignettes, a well-worked sketch of an elatedly woman stands out. She bears a resemblance to Picasso’s portrait of Celestina , also executed in 1903.
La Celestina is a tragicomedy from 1499 and attributed to Fernando de Rojas. It regarded as one of Spain’s most important works, marking the end of the medieval period and the start of the renaissance in Spanish literature. View Lot
1915By 1915, Picasso has already started his journey into Cubism and produced notable works such as Les Demoiselles d'Avignon and Harlequin.
In sketches like the present work it is clear Picasso never ceases to be a draftsman, rooted in his traditional training.
1941In 1937, Picasso paints Guernica, protesting the bombing of the Basque town by the same name. The painting was exhibited at the Spanish Pavilion at the Paris International Exposition in the same year. In the present sketch, done four years later, we can see echoes of the monumental painting – namely, in the central head’s tilted position and sorrowful eyes.
1957At the left of this plaque we see a bullfighting scene – a theme deeply connected to Picasso’s Spanish roots. His life-long fascination with the sport began during his childhood in Málaga, when his father would bring him to La Malagueta bullring.
In the same summer Picasso made this plaque, he also completed a series 26 etching plates to illustrate La Tauromaquia o arte de torear – a book about the process and techniques of bull fighting. The project began nearly 30 years prior but after pauses and delays it was finally completed in 1957. A previous edition of the book was also famously illustrated by another Spanish master: Francisco de Goya.
Cuixart in 1964: Pink Period
Works from this period were widely exhibited at the Bonino Gallery in New York, the René Metras Gallery in Barcelona, and in the "Art of Organic Forms" exhibition at the Smithsonian Museum in Washington D.C.
Sotheby's thanks Dr. Raquel Medina and the Fundació Cuixart for their assistance and research.