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MAGNIFICENT GESTURES: MASTERWORKS FROM THE DIAMONSTEIN-SPIELVOGEL COLLECTION FULL PROCEEDS TO BENEFIT A NOT-FOR-PROFIT CHARITABLE FOUNDATION

Pablo Picasso
UNE MAIN
Estimation
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.
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.
500 000700 000
Lot. Vendu 615,000 USD (Prix d’adjudication avec commission acheteur)
ACCÉDER AU LOT
15

MAGNIFICENT GESTURES: MASTERWORKS FROM THE DIAMONSTEIN-SPIELVOGEL COLLECTION FULL PROCEEDS TO BENEFIT A NOT-FOR-PROFIT CHARITABLE FOUNDATION

Pablo Picasso
UNE MAIN
Estimation
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.
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.
500 000700 000
Lot. Vendu 615,000 USD (Prix d’adjudication avec commission acheteur)
ACCÉDER AU LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Impressionist & Modern Art Evening Sale

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New York

Pablo Picasso
1881 - 1973
UNE MAIN
Watercolor and gouache on paper
8 5/8 by 12 1/2 in.
21.9 by 31.7 cm
Executed in 1920. 
Lire le rapport d'état Lire le rapport d'état

Claude Picasso has confirmed the authenticity of this work.

Provenance

Bernard Ruiz Picasso, Paris 

The Pace Gallery, New York (acquired from the above in in August 1985)

Acquired from the above in April 1986

Exposition

New York, Pace Wildenstein, Picasso and Drawing, 1995

Description

With its sculptural solidity and elegant form, Une main exemplifies Picasso’s neo-classical period of the 1920s. After nearly a decade of working exclusively in the cubist mode, Picasso returned to representation in 1917 with a group of portraits of his future wife Olga Khokhlova. From 1917 to 1924, he would continue to produce cubist work alongside classical subjects, drawing criticism from some dedicated members of the avant-garde who suggested that he had rejected modernism’s forward march: "Cubism is an art of creation, not of reproduction or interpretation,” wrote the critic Pierre Reverdy in 1917, “No cubist painter should execute a portrait" (quoted in M. FitzGerald, "The Modernists' Dilemma: Neoclassicism and the Portrayal of Olga Khokhlova," in Picasso and Portraiture: Representation and Transformation (exhibition catalogue), Museum of Modern Art, New York, 1996, p. 301).

Scholars suggest that the call to order and classicism in modern art, which initiated in 1917, resulted from the atrocities and upheaval of World War I. Forced to reexamine the relationship between history and art, the avant-garde sought timeless forms of representation. In works such as Une Main, the scholar Michael FitzGerald argues that Picasso successfully advanced the stalled progression of Modernism which had been encumbered by the critics’ rigid definition of the movement:  "Among the many phases of Picasso's work, neoclassicism is perhaps the most controversial, because its stylistic eclecticism and widespread popularity have led some writers to criticize it as a reactionary departure from modernism. When placed in the context of cultural developments during World War I, however, Picasso's neoclassicism is better understood as a renewal of the avant-garde. By explicitly embracing history, Picasso escaped the strictures of an increasingly rigid modernism to define a more vital alternative. He repudiated the convention of modernism's ahistoricism in order to acknowledge its maturity, as well as his own, and rejuvenate the avant-garde by immersing it in the rich humanistic traditions that many Cubist artists and theorists denied in a search for formal purity" (ibid., p. 297).

In the present work, Picasso builds the three-dimensionality of the form through an abundance of rounded and deftly executed hatch marks. The sculptural quality of the work demonstrates the powerful impact of Picasso’s 1917 trip to Italy and his encounter with the crumbling masterpieces of Ancient Rome: "Picasso was thrilled by the majestic ruins and climbed endlessly over broken columns to stand staring at fragments of Roman statuary" (L. Massine quoted in J. Clair, ed., Picasso, 1917-1924: The Italian Journey (exhibition catalogue), Palazzo Grassi, Venice, 1998, pp. 79-80). The monumentality of Italy and its ruins would continue to serve as a major inspiration for Picasso throughout the 1920s.

Impressionist & Modern Art Evening Sale

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New York