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    Sale 7735

    Impressionist/Modern Evening Sale

    23 June 2009, London, King Street

  • Lot 33

    Pablo Picasso (1881-1973)

    La villa au crépuscule

    Price Realised  


    Pablo Picasso (1881-1973)
    La villa au crépuscule
    signed 'Picasso' (lower left); inscribed and dated 'VALLAURIS 16.2.51.' (on the reverse)
    oil on panel
    15 x 18 1/8 in. (38 x 46 cm.)
    Painted in Vallauris February 1951

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    Painted on 16 February 1951, La villa au crépuscule is a lush landscape, showing Picasso's house in Vallauris on the Côte d'Azur, the Villa La Gaulloise. It was in 1948 that Picasso had acquired this house, and he spent a great deal of his time there; it was in Vallauris that he worked on several of his important paintings of the period, while also creating his celebrated ceramics there, as the town had a history of pottery dating back to the Roman era. Picasso was enchanted by his surroundings and by this sense of history, and this fascination became evident in the landscapes that he created, such as La villa au crépuscule. There is a poetic aspect to the shroud of dusk that has descended on the landscape and on the Villa in this picture; Picasso has explored this all the more through the play of light in the sky, with one section clearly more draped in darkness than another, the house in the centre acting as the fulcrum for this change and the centre of the artist's, and by extension the viewer's, attention.

    Picasso's oeuvre features relatively few landscapes, making La villa au crépuscule an object of some rarity; pictures showing scenes such as those of Horta de Ebro in his early years and the Château de Boisgeloup in the 1930s had occasionally shown him taking an interest in the theme, but it was in his homes at Vallauris and then the nearby villa he purchased a couple of years later, La Californie, that he truly began to explore the potential of rendering the world around him through the filter of his unique vision. Perhaps Picasso enjoyed the seigneurial aspect of painting surroundings that really were his. Certainly, he has brought a great warmth to La villa au crépuscule, with its twilit rendering of the lush landscape; his fascination with the area, which would find such lyrical form in some of his mythological works from the same period, is evident in this landscape, not least in the vigorous, almost expressionistic brushwork with which he has captured the scene. At the same time, the verticality of the landscape itself has allowed Picasso to create an image that appears in part to pay tribute to his own earlier landscapes, and indeed to one of his early inspirations, Cézanne, a link that is made all the more evident when one looks at the almost stacked roofs and houses of another landscape, Fumée à Vallauris, painted only a month earlier and now in the Musée Picasso, Paris.

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    Galerie Louise Leiris, Paris (no. 5017), by 1953.
    Galerie Rosengart, Lucerne (no. 2663).
    Acquired from the above by the husband of the present owner in 1953.

    Saleroom Notice

    Please note the additional provenance, literature and exhibition references for this lot:

    Galerie Louise Leiris, Paris (no. 5017), by 1953.

    Paris, Galerie Louise Leiris, Picasso, May - June 1953, no. 6.

    Verve, nos. 25-26, vol. VII, Paris, 25 October 1951 (illustrated p. 8).

    Pre-Lot Text



    Verve, nos. 25-26, vol. VII, Paris, 25 October 1951 (illustrated p. 8).
    C. Zervos, Pablo Picasso, oeuvres de 1946 à 1953, vol. 15, Paris, 1965, no. 186 (illustrated pl. 110, with the reversed dimensions).
    The Picasso Project (ed.), Picasso's Paintings, Watercolours, Drawings and Sculpture, A Comprehensive Illustrated Catalogue 1885-1973, The Fifties I, 1950-1955, San Francisco, 2000, no. 51-010 (illustrated p. 40, titled 'The villa at Dusk (La Galloise)').


    Paris, Galerie Louise Leiris, Picasso, May - June 1953, no. 6.
    Los Angeles, UCLA Art Galleries, "Bonne Fête" Monsieur Picasso, October - November 1961, no. 38.
    Barcelona, Museu Picasso, Indoor & Outdoor Landscapes, October 1999 - January 2000, no. 99 (illustrated p. 127).