Pablo Picasso (1881-1973)
Nu appuyé (Femme étendue)
oil and gouache on panel
8¼ x 10 5/8 in. (21 x 27 cm.)
painted in 1908
Estate of the artist.
Marina Picasso (by descent from the above).
Jan Krugier, acquired from the above.
D.D. Duncan, Picasso's Picassos: The Treasures of La Californie, London, 1961, p. 59 (illustrated in color; illustrated again, p. 205).
C. Zervos, Pablo Picasso, Paris, 1973, vol. 26, no. 363 (illustrated, pl. 121).
P. Daix and J. Rosselet, Picasso, The Cubist Years, 1907-1916: A Catalogue Raisonné of the Paintings and Related Works, London, 1979, p. 219, no. 155 (illustrated).
J. Palau i Fabre, Picasso: Cubism, 1907-1917, Paris, 1990, pp. 112 and 499, no. 306 (illustrated in color, p. 113).
Munich, Haus der Kunst; Cologne, Josef-Haubrich-Kunsthalle in Zusammenarbeit mit dem Museum Ludwig; Frankfurt am Main, Städtische Galerie im Städelschen Kunstinstitut and Kunsthaus Zürich, Pablo Picasso: Eine Ausstellung zum hundertsten Geburtstag, Werke aus der Sammlung Marina Picasso, February 1981-March 1982, p. 240, no. 57 (illustrated).
Venice, Centro di Cultura di Palazzo Grassi, Picasso: opere dal 1895 al 1971 dalla Collezione Marina Picasso, May-July 1981, p. 204, no. 70 (illustrated).
Tokyo, The National Museum of Modern Art and Kyoto Municipal Museum, Picasso: Masterpieces from Marina Picasso Collection and from Museums in U.S.A. and U.S.S.R., April-July 1983, p. 198, no. 41 (illustrated; illustrated again in color, p. 60).
Melbourne, National Gallery of Victoria and Sydney, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Picasso, July-December 1984, p. 42, no. 31 (illustrated in color).
Geneva, Galerie Jan Krugier, Picasso: oeuvres cubistes de la collection Marina Picasso, April-July 1986, no. 97 (illustrated).
Fundació Caixa de Barcelona, Picasso cubista, 1907-1920: Col-lecció Marina Picasso, May-July 1987, p. 85, no. 3 (illustrated, p. 19).
New York, Jan Krugier Gallery, Picasso: Cubist Works from the Marina Picasso Collection, October-December 1987, p. 101, no. 1 (illustrated in color; titled Reclining Woman).
Tokyo Station Gallery, Pablo Picasso: Focused on Cubist Works from the Marina Picasso Collection, June-September 1988, no. 4 (illustrated in color).
Stockholm, Moderna Museet, Pablo Picasso, October 1988-January 1989, p. 235, no. 13 (illustrated, p. 66).
Madrid, Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Forma: El ideal clásico en el arte moderno, October 2001-January 2002, p. 203, no. 11 (illustrated in color, p. 53).
Geneva, Galerie Jan Krugier, Ditesheim & Cie, Pablo Picasso Métamorphoses: oeuvres de 1898 à 1973 de la collection Marina Picasso, March-June 2001, p. 122, no. 14 (illustrated in color, p. 17).
New York, Jan Krugier Gallery, Pablo Picasso Metamorphoses: Works from 1898 to 1973 from the Marina Picasso Collection, May-July 2002, p. 122, no. 14 (illustrated in color, p. 17).
Vienna, Albertina Museum, Goya bis Picasso: Meisterwerke der Sammlung Jan Krugier und Marie Anne Krugier-Poniatowski, April-August 2005, p. 308, no. 132 (illustrated in color, p. 309).

Lot Essay

During the summer of 1907, Picasso brought his groundbreaking, proto-cubist manifesto, Les Demoiselles d'Avignon, to its final state after months of working and re-working the composition (Zervos, vol. 2, no. 18; The Museum of Modern Art, New York). Although the monumental brothel scene was not exhibited until 1916, word of its raw subject matter and violent primitivism spread quickly, provoking a heated discussion of ideas among Picasso's admirers and detractors alike. The present painting, completed less than a year later, is one of a rapid sequence of pictures that Les Demoiselles set into motion, ultimately leading to the emergence of Cubism--the most fundamental restructuring of pictorial form since the Renaissance--as the dominant artistic language of its time.

The defining moment in the evolution of the Demoiselles was Picasso's visit in the early spring of 1907 to the Ethnographic Museum at the Trocadéro, where the African and Oceanic art struck him as a revelation: "I wanted to get away," he later told André Malraux. "But I didn't leave. I stayed. I understood that it was very important: something was happening to me" (quoted in J. Richardson, A Life of Picasso, New York, 1996, vol. II, p. 24). In October 1907, Picasso experienced another epiphany, this time at the Cézanne retrospective at the Salon d'Automne, where two of the recently deceased master's late Grandes Baigneuses were exhibited (fig. 1). Over the course of the next ten months--before leaving Paris in August 1908 for a much needed respite at La Rue-des-Bois, in the Oise valley--Picasso worked on two overlapping and interlinked groups of paintings. The first was a sequence of Cézannesque bathers that eventually culminated in the monumental Trois femmes (Zervos, vol. 2, no. 208; State Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg). The second, which includes the present painting, represents a continued exploration of the formal and expressive possibilities of primitivism. Pierre Daix and Joan Rosselet have written, "Whereas in the first sequence Picasso's meditations on African art resulted only in figurative simplifications and monumental rhythms within a Cézannesque framework, in this second sequence his investigations are completely dominated by them" (op. cit., 1979, p. 215).

Daix and Rosselet have proposed that Femme étendue belongs to a project for two bathers, one standing and one reclining, against a forest background (ibid., p. 219). An ink drawing is evidence for Picasso's initial conception of the composition, which he never brought to fruition (Zervos, vol. 2, no. 66), and three other panels of identical dimensions may also be linked to the project (Zervos, vol. 26, nos. 364-366). Unlike the abstract faceting of the more Cézannesque nudes of this period, however, the forms here are relentlessly sculptural, while the strong emphasis on the mass of the individual body parts is indebted to the imaginative restructurings of the human figure in African art. With its bulging musculature, spherical head and breasts, and the exaggerated torsion of its pose, the figure also recalls Matisse's Nu bleu, itself a fusion of European and African influences, which had scandalized the public and bewildered the critics at the Salon des Indépendants the previous year (fig. 2). Not coincidentally, it is said that Matisse--who had shown Picasso a piece of tribal art from his collection as early as autumn 1906--became enraged when he first saw Picasso's Demoiselles, convinced that his younger rival was seeking to upstage the notoriety of the Nu bleu.

The wooden support for Femme étendue comes from a large wardrobe that Picasso had acquired toward the end of 1907 and chopped up into at least forty panels, the majority measuring 27 x 21 centimeters. Some of these panels became landscapes and still-lifes, while others were used for studies in another unrealized figural project, L'Offrande (Zervos, vol. 2, nos. 688 and 693-694). John Richardson has written, "These meticulous miniatures, in which the artist revels in his own virtuosity, seemingly for his own private delectation, provide a fascinating microcosm of the themes and subjects and stylistic concerns of early Cubism" (op. cit., 1996, p. 82).

Picasso in his studio in the Bateau Lavoir, 1908. Photograph by Gelett Burgess. BARCODE: 28857228

(fig. 1) Paul Cézanne, Les Grandes Baigneuses, 1894-1905. The National Gallery, London. BARCODE: ART372758_DHR

(fig. 2) Henri Matisse, Nu bleu: Souvenir de Biskra, 1907. Baltimore Museum of Art. BARCODE: 28856887

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