Pablo Gargallo (1881-1934)
Pablo Gargallo (1881-1934)

Homme à la barbe ou Portrait de Monsieur Janés

Pablo Gargallo (1881-1934)
Homme à la barbe ou Portrait de Monsieur Janés
copper with dark brown patina
10 5/8 x 6¾ in. (27 x 17 cm.)
Executed in 1927; unique
Private collection, Barcelona (acquired from the artist, circa 1927-1928).
By descent from the above to the present owner.
"Pablo Gargallo," Selection, Antwerp, 1930, p. 59 (illustrated).
P. Courthion, Gargallo, Sculptures et dessins, Paris, 1937, no. 16 (illustrated).
P. Courthion, L'oeuvre complet de Pablo Gargallo, Paris, 1973, p. 149, no. 101 (illustrated, pp. 79 and 148).
P. Gargallo-Anguera, Pablo Gargallo, Catalogue raisonné, Paris, 1998, p. 158, no. 137 (illustrated).
Paris, Galerie Bernheim, 1ere exposition annuelle d'un groupe de sculpteurs, December 1927.
New York, Brummer Gallery, Pablo Gargallo, February-April 1934.
Barcelona, Sala Parés, Gargallo, Exposició d'Escultures, December 1934.
Duisburg, Wilhelm Lehmbruck Museum, Gargallo, November-December 1966, no. 44 (illustrated).
Paris, Musée d'Art Moderne; Barcelona, Palau de la Virreina; Lisbon, Fundaçao Calouste Gulbenkian; Madrid, Palacio de Cristal and Saragossa, La Lonja, Centenaire P. Gargallo, 1881-1981, December 1980-January 1982, p. 50, no. 129 (illustrated).
Valencia, Institut d'Art Modern et Biarritz, Centre Le Bellevue, Pablo Gargallo, January-October 2004, p. 257 (illustrated in color).

Lot Essay

Following in the footsteps of his friends Pablo Picasso and Julio González, Gargallo's primary interest was with the physical material: "it dictates the appearance of surface, it stimulates or obstructs the possibilities of manipulation... Each material has its own exclusive properties. It only offers up the entirety of its means of expression to artists who are capable of celebrating all of its qualities" (the artist quoted in P. Courthion, op. cit., 1973, p. 105). Gargallo would in turn work with terracotta, alabaster, gold, silver, Belgian black limestone, pink marble, iron, copper (as in the present portrait), lead and bronze, concentrating on the expressive qualities of each. Through their unique surface appearance and the manner in which they occupy space, Gargallo's sculptures seem to speak, to cry out, to entice the viewer to touch.

Homme à la barbe ou Portrait de Monsieur Janés was executed in 1927, probably in Paris at the artist's studio at 107, Avenue du Maine. It was around this time that the sculptor began to use thicker, less fragile material and to explore new sculptural possibilities. He also met George Bernheim, the celebrated Parisian art dealer, who began to support his work, including the present sculpture in an exhibition later that year. In 1934, the year of Gargallo's death, Bernheim organized important exhibitions at the Brummer Gallery in New York and in Barcelona, with the present lot being exhibited at both shows.

Homme à la barbe ou Portrait de Monsieur Janés attests to the profound friendship between Gargallo and his friend Janés at the time when both lived in Barcelona. Gifted by the artist to the grandfather of the present owner, this work has remained in the same collection for more than 85 years.

(fig. 1) The artist, 1930-1931.

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