Online auction spans Pablo Picasso’s entire oeuvre

Art Daily
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Pablo Picasso, Autour des arènes, circa 1900, pastel on cardboard (est. £250,000 – 350,000). Courtesy Sotheby's.
Pablo Picasso, Autour des arènes, circa 1900, pastel on cardboard (est. £250,000 – 350,000). Courtesy Sotheby’s.

LONDON.- Pablo Picasso was an individual who shaped art history like no other. Turning his hand to virtually every medium, Picasso suffused every element of culture with his signature – instantly recognisable, yet constantly evolving – style. This online auction will celebrate the enduring legacy of the artist with works from across Picasso’s entire oeuvre in both date and scope, including paintings, drawings, unique ceramics, editions, photographs, and even paint palettes. Over sixty works in the sale come from the personal collection of the artist’s granddaughter, Marina Picasso, and with estimates starting from £400, going up to £400,000, this is the perfect opportunity to dive into the life and work of this exceptional artist. The works will be exhibited to the public, with appropriate safety restrictions in place, from 15 to 18 June, and viewing is available by appointment on request prior to those dates.

“Over the past few years we have seen an incredibly strong demand for Picasso as collectors across the world seek to acquire works of all media and periods by the most globally recognised artist of our time. This sale allows the viewer to explore the full gamut of his production, and invites them to pick their favourite from decades of experimentation – with subjects ranging from the swashbuckling matador and mythological minotaur to the myriad muses that made their mark.” – Holly Braine, Sotheby’s Impressionist & Modern Art Specialist


Pablo Picasso, The artist’s palette, 1961, oil on card (est. £4,000 – 6,000)

This palette is an extraordinary relic from the working process of the great artist, its colours corresponding exactly to a verdant painting Picasso executed on 17 June 1961 titled Le déjeuner sur l’herbe (d’après Manet), which is housed in the Museum Ludwig, Cologne. Ever aware of his own legacy, Picasso dated the palette, elevating its status and significance with his signature wit.

Picasso enjoyed his celebrity status, with one notorious anecdote telling of the artist’s refusal to sign a drawing that he had been asked to leave for a restaurant manager in lieu of payment, quipping “I’m buying a meal, not the whole restaurant”.

Pablo Picasso, Nu, 1972, brush and ink, ink wash, chalk and pencil on card (est. £120,000 – 180,000)
The motif of a seated nude figure occurred repeatedly throughout Picasso’s career, here inspired by Jacqueline Roque, the last love of his life, whom the artist married in 1961, with her large eyes and sharp profile. The monumental figure has a sculptural presence, looming large on her throne like a pagan goddess, with a powerful sense of psychological drama stemming from the tension between the invisible artist and his sitter. Pablo Picasso, Jacqueline au chapeau à fleurs (B. 1149; BA. 1304), linoleum cut printed in colours, 1962 (est. £50,000 – 70,000) Created a year into Picasso and Jacqueline’s marriage, this print is one of around a dozen studies of a woman in a hat that he experimented with between 1961 and 1962 – the composition referencing historical portraiture, but with a Cubist twist. The work is printed from two blocks, one for the frame – which he reused for five other prints – and another for the central composition.

Pablo Picasso, Autour des arènes, circa 1900, pastel on cardboard (est. £250,000 – 350,000)
Executed just before the artist relocated to Paris, this exceptional pastel depicts the famous façade of the Barcelona bull-ring and a well-heeled crowd gathered around its entrance in anticipation of the day’s events. The scene is animated by activity and a hot palette, hinting at the drama, performance, courage and violence to come. Picasso’s earliest surviving painting dates to when he had just turned eight and is a small portrait of a picador on a horse, and this cultural institution from the artist’s Spanish heritage continually appeared as a motif throughout his life.

Pablo Picasso, Le Poussin (Baer 214), 1907, woodcut printed by hand in dark blue and bright blue gouache (est. £30,000 – 50,000)
Picasso met bibliophile Guillaume Apollinaire in a bar on the rue d’Amsterdam around 1904, when both were in their mid-twenties, and forged a close friendship until the poet’s death in 1918 during the flu epidemic. This rare early print is one of eight known impressions proposed by Picasso for Apollinaire’s poetic album Le Bestiaire. The calligraphic outlines of these animal drawings were engraved on a single block and printed in different colours. The subject held a special meaning for Picasso, who inherited a lifelong love of birds from his father, the artist José Ruiz y Blasco. This widely-exhibited piece boasts an extraordinary provenance having started in the collection Gertrude Stein, acquired from her estate sale by John Hay Whitney and ending up in the country home of Christopher Cone and Stanley Seeger.

Robert Doisneau, Les Pains de Picasso, 1952, silver print (est. £4,000 –6,000)
This 1952 shot is one of the most iconic portraits of Picasso ever taken, capturing the lightness and joie de vivre that defined his time in the South of France. Upon entering Picasso’s studio at Rue Grand Augustin in Vallauris, a nervous Doisneau recalls being ushered into the dining room where Picasso and Françoise Gilot were having lunch. With the small loaves of bread on the table resembling fingers on a hand, Picasso seized the moment to pose with them, and the celebrated photographer captured the moment for posterity.

Pablo Picasso, Visage au nez noir (A. R. 609), 1969, terre de faïence pitcher (est. £15,000 – 20,000)
Among Picasso’s most sought-after ceramic editions, Visage au nez noir was created in 1969, revealing the artist’s mastery of his medium in these later years. In the ample pitcher, luminous, brushed glazing offsets a stark grey patina and swiftly engraved lines, together effortlessly becoming an arresting and exuberant portrait.

Pablo Picasso, Le voyeur, 1933, pen and brush and ink on paper (est. 400,000 – 600,000)
Dating to a summer holiday in Cannes with his wife Olga and son Paolo, this gracefully classical yet intense work by Picasso reveal’s the artist’s preoccupation with his beautiful mistress Marie-Thérèse Walter. In 1933, though Marie-Thérèse was hidden away as Picasso continued the public life of a married man, he saw her regularly and she had become an important source of inspiration. Here, she remains tantalisingly out of reach, in an artistic expression of Picasso’s feelings at the time.

Pablo Picasso, Composition ovale, 1911, pen and ink and pencil on paper (est. £50,000 – 70,000)
Cubism at its core was a movement of discovery, as Picasso and his contemporary Georges Braque set out to explore the very boundaries of pictorial representation and discover an utterly new visual language. One of their key building blocks was to disband with a conventional rectangular framework – deeming the angular corners restrictive – instead beginning to produce pictures in oval forms. This beautiful ink sketch encapsulates this intrepid spirit, signifying a new perspective as a circular plane seen from an oblique angle.

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