• Christies auction house James Christie logo

    Sale 12146

    Impressionist & Modern Art Works on Paper Sale

    17 November 2016, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 1076

    Pablo Picasso (1881-1973)

    Deux soeurs

    Price Realised  

    Estimate

    Pablo Picasso (1881-1973)
    Deux soeurs
    pencil on paper
    24 3/8 x 18 3/8 in. (62 x 46.6 cm.)
    Drawn in Barcelona circa 1902


    Contact Client Service
    • info@christies.com

    • New York +1 212 636 2000

    • London +44 (0)20 7839 9060

    • Hong Kong +852 2760 1766

    • Shanghai +86 21 6355 1766

    Maya Widmaier-Picasso has confirmed the authenticity of this work.
    Claude Picasso has confirmed the authenticity of this work.

    In 1965, Pierre Daix, while preparing his catalogue of Picasso's Blue and Rose period works, showed the artist a photograph of a painting (Zervos, vol. 21, no. 410) which was hitherto known simply as La femme au châle and had never before been published. "C'est Germaine, la femme de Pichot," Picasso told him (in P. Daix, Picasso, Life and Art, New York, 1993, p. 31). The significance of this portrait was immediately apparent: Germaine was the young coquette for whose affections Picasso's friend Carles Casagemas had killed himself. Picasso also had a liaison with her. Moreover, Picasso informed Daix that he painted this picture in Barcelona, not Paris, which indicated that memories of Germaine continued to haunt Picasso's thoughts, months after they had broken up. Indeed, the presence of Germaine ran like a throbbing vein in Picasso's life from the years 1900 to 1903, as the artist left his youth behind, entered manhood, and created his Blue paintings, in his first signature style. Germaine was, according to Daix, the inspiration for the two women of Saint-Lazare seen in L’Entrevue (Les deux soeurs) (fig. 1), the largest and most important of the paintings that Picasso executed in Barcelona in 1902.
    The present work is one of six drawings directly related to this painting. Of the six drawings, this sheet is the largest, and the composition is the most similar to the oil (see Zervos, vol. 6, nos. 435 and 436; Zervos, vol. 21, nos. 368 and 369; and Zervos, vol. 22, no. 37). Picasso explained the subject of this series in a letter to Max Jacob dating from the time of execution: “It’s a picture of a St. Lazare whore and a sister” (letter from Picasso to Max Jacob, 13 July 1902). Saint-Lazare was a women’s prison and hospital in Montmartre which was run by Dominican nuns. Many of the women there were imprisoned for offenses related to prostitution, and some even served their sentences in the company of their infants and young children. Picasso frequented the prison in search of unpaid models, which inspired his series of Blue Period paintings on the theme of maternity, where women are seen huddled in heavy cloaks, blankets and hoods that recall the head-coverings worn by the inmates. At the time he was working on the L’Entrevue series, Picasso was in Barcelona, far from Saint-Lazare. However while he found new subjects among the poor and destitute of Barcelona, he continued to find inspiration in his memories and sketches of these unfortunate women of Paris, and of Germaine.
    Deux soeurs was one of the seventy-six paintings and thirty-seven works on paper chosen by Picasso and his dealer, Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler, for his first major retrospective exhibition, which was held in Munich at Heinrich Thannhauser’s Moderne Galerie in February 1913. The inclusion of this work in the exhibition is a testament to the importance of the subject and to this drawing in particular.
    The first owner of this work, Marius de Zayas, was an artist, photographer and a member of Alfred Stieglitz's circle. He was first introduced to Picasso's work during a 1910 trip to Paris, and was later responsible for the first American publication to record Picasso's own views on art.

    (fig. 1) Pablo Picasso, L'Entrevue (Les deux soeurs), 1902. State Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg. BARCODE: 28864653_fig

    Provenance

    Marius de Zayas, New York (acquired from the artist, circa 1920).
    George de Zayas, New York (by descent from the above).
    Richard Salmon, London.
    Anon. (acquired from the above, January 1989); sale, Christie's, London, 3 February 2016, lot 254.
    Acquired at the above sale by the present owner.


    Literature

    M. Raynal, Picasso, Paris, 1922 (illustrated, pl. XIII; titled Deux femmes and dated 1906).
    D.E. Gordon, Modern Art Exhibitions, 1900-1916, Selected Catalogue Documentation, Munich, 1974, p. 246, no. 1215 (illustrated).
    A. Podoksik, Picasso, The Artist's Works in Soviet Museums, New York, 1989, p. 142 (illustrated, fig. 39).
    D. Chevalier, Picasso, The Blue and Rose Periods, Bergamo, 1991, p. 45 (illustrated).


    Exhibited

    Munich, Moderne Galerie (Heinrich Thannhauser), Pablo Picasso, February 1913, no. 96 (illustrated; titled Die Begegnung and dated 1906).
    New York, The Artis Group, Ltd., Drawings, Watercolors & Sculpture, From Lautrec to Picasso to Warhol, November-December 1987, no. 3 (illustrated and detail illustrated on a frontispiece).
    Washington, D.C., National Gallery of Art and Boston, Museum of Fine Arts, Picasso, The Early Years, 1892-1906, March 1997-January 1998, pp. 291 and 357, no. 78 (illustrated, p. 177).
    Bogotá, Museo Nacional de Colombia, Picasso en Bogotá, May-August 2000, pp. 188 and 206, no. 5 (illustrated, p. 71).