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Pablo Picasso (1881-1973)
Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's… Read more THE PERSONAL COLLECTION OF BARBARA LAMBRECHT, SOLD TO BENEFIT THE RUBENS PRIZE COLLECTION IN THE MUSEUM OF CONTEMPORARY ART IN SIEGENChristie’s is honoured to offer the following selection of works from the personal collection of the esteemed philanthropist and patron of the arts, Barbara Lambrecht. Assembled over the course of nearly four decades, Ms Lambrecht’s collection features works by a diverse range of artists, from early compositions by the great painters of Impressionism, to the refined techniques of the Pointillists, and the free, expressionist colours of the Fauves. In this way, the collection offers an intriguing insight into one of the most dynamic and exciting periods of the European artistic avant-garde. Ms Lambrecht’s collecting journey began in the 1970s, when an early interest in Impressionism encouraged her to purchase paintings by Eugène Boudin, Raoul Dufy and Berthe Morisot. From here, her treasured collection has grown and evolved to encompass works by some of the most influential artists of the late Nineteenth and early Twentieth Centuries, including Claude Monet, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso and Paul Klee. This highly personal collection, shaped by Ms Lambrecht’s discerning vision and keen knowledge of art history, has filled the walls of the collector’s home for the past forty years. Considered together, the works reveal a series of intriguing connections to one another, their similarities and differences causing a dynamic dialogue to develop between each of the individual works in the collection. This is evident, for example, when Dufy’s portrayal of the northern coast of France is considered alongside Boudin’s painting of the same subject, or the contrasting painterly techniques of Monet’s loose, spontaneous compositions are observed beside Kees van Dongen’s highly saturated, impastoed areas of colour. One of the most striking features of the collection is the way in which the collection focuses on the pivotal periods in each artist’s career, often highlighting on a moment of transition as they begin to explore new, ground breaking techniques, subject matter or styles. Ms Lambrecht’s dedication to collecting has been paralleled by a prodigious journey in cultural philanthropy and patronage, as her passion for the arts has driven her to support a number of institutions in her native Siegen. Through her generous support, these bodies have become leaders in their respective fields, from the Philharmonic Orchestra Südwestfalen, to the city’s Apollo Theatre. Amongst her most remarkable and enduring charitable projects is her commitment to the Museum of Contemporary Art, Siegen, and her promotion of the Peter Paul Rubens Prize. Founded in 1955, the same year as the documenta in Kassel, this highly acclaimed international award is presented every five years to a contemporary artist living in Europe, to honour his or her lifetime achievements in art. Presented in remembrance of Peter Paul Rubens, who was born in Siegen, previous recipients include Giorgio Morandi, Francis Bacon, Antoni Tápies, Cy Twombly, Sigmar Polke, Lucian Freud, Maria Lassnig and Bridget Riley. To support the award, Ms Lambrecht founded the Rubens Prize Collection, acquiring comprehensive and exemplary groups of important paintings, sculptures and graphic pieces by each of the award’s former laureates, and then placing them on permanent loan to the Museum. Conceptually, the collection has been carefully curated so as to include works from each artist’s various creative phases, and continues to grow as it gathers examples from each new recipient of the prize. Creating an impressive survey of twentieth- and early twenty-first-century European art, from the quiet still-lifes of Morandi, and Riley’s iconic explorations of line and colour, to Bacon's emotionally charged figurative paintings and Maria Lassnig’s self-exploration of the human body, the Rubens Prize Collection offers visitors to the Museum of Contemporary Art in Siegen an in-depth look into the work of the acclaimed artists honoured by the city. With the sale of this outstanding group of impressionist and early modernist works, Ms Lambrecht plans to ensure the continued growth and evolution of the Rubens Prize Collection, and to secure its future for the enjoyment of subsequent generations in Siegen and throughout Europe.
Pablo Picasso (1881-1973)

Portrait de Lluís Alemany

Pablo Picasso (1881-1973)
Portrait de Lluís Alemany
signed 'PR Picasso' (lower left)
gouache and charcoal on paper
18 1/2 x 12 1/4 in. (47 x 31 cm.)
Executed in 1899-1900
Claude Picasso, Paris, by descent from the artist.
Schröder und Leisewitz, Bremen.
Acquired from the above by the present owner in 1988.
C. Zervos, Pablo Picasso, vol. VI, Supplément aux volumes l à 5, Paris, 1954, no. 263 (illustrated pl. 33; dated ‘1899’).
J. Palau i Fabre, Picasso: The Early Years, 1881-1907, Barcelona, 1985, no. 387, pp. 183 & 528 (illustrated p. 183; dated ‘1900’).
J. Richardson, A Life of Picasso, vol. I, 1881-1906, London, 1991, p. 146 (illustrated p. 147; dated ‘1900’ and titled ‘Unidentified Man’).
M.T. Ocaña, exh. cat., Picasso and Els 4Gats, Boston, 1996, p. 29.
(Possibly) Barcelona, Els Quatre Gats, Picasso, 1900.
Basel, Galerie Beyeler, Picasso 1881-1981, April - July 1981, no. 63, p. 120 (dated '1899' and titled 'Portrait d'homme de profil').
Special Notice

Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's Resale Right Regulations 2006 apply to this lot, the buyer agrees to pay us an amount equal to the resale royalty provided for in those Regulations, and we undertake to the buyer to pay such amount to the artist's collection agent.

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Lot Essay

‘[Picasso’s] portraits can be rated as masterpieces; they are all true embodiments of those pipe-smoking characters we have seen walking down the Ramblas, but this collection presents more than personalities, it is a portrait of the present age.’
(Review of Picasso’s exhibition at Els Quatre Gats, 1900, in M. McCully, ed., A Picasso Anthology: Documents, Criticism, Reminiscences, Princeton, 1981, p. 25)

Executed between 1899 and 1900, Pablo Picasso’s Portrait de Lluís Alemany is one of a large group of portraits that the young artist created for his first ever solo exhibition held at Els Quatre Gats in Barcelona in 1900. Most likely among the first of this groundbreaking series of portraits, Portrait de Lluís Alemany dates from a period of extraordinary productivity as the artist boldly forged his unique artistic style. The work depicts Lluís Alemany, an acquaintance of Picasso during this period. Born in Mallorca, he was in Barcelona studying law at the same time that Picasso was there. At the time that Picasso painted young Alemany, it would have been impossible to foretell the distinguished career that he would go on to have. A politician and lawyer, he was also, from 1910 until 1912, the Mayor of Mallorca. With the rapidly drawn lines of charcoal, Picasso has brought this young, well-dressed Catalan man to life, capturing not just a likeness, but conveying something of his character as he stands proudly against a vividly coloured rural background.

Having returned to Barcelona from Madrid in the spring of 1899, Picasso quickly found his way into a circle of bohemian artists and intellectuals known as the Quatre Gats group, so-called because they frequented a tavern of the same name. Founded in 1897 by a group of four artists, Pere Romeu, Santiago Rusiñol, Ramon Casas and Miguel Utrillo, Els Quatre Gats quickly became the intellectual and avant-garde centre of the city, a place for young artists to congregate and engage with progressive developments of literature, art, philosophy and politics. Amidst these young artists and writers, Ramon Reventós, Angel Fernández de Soto, Carlos Casagemas and Jaime Sabartés, among others, Picasso soon became a much admired figure, a ‘legendary hero’, in Sabartés’ words. The Quatre Gats group was vital in the early development of the artist, exposing him to the Catalan movement, modernisme, which was an assimilation of movements and styles including symbolism and art nouveau.

In October 1899, a member of the older generation of this group of modernistes, as they had become known, Ramon Casas, held a large exhibition primarily consisting of portraits executed in charcoal on paper at the Sala Parés, one of Barcelona’s most fashionable galleries. Depicting the city’s wealthy, bourgeois elite, this exhibition was enormously successful, commanding great attention and critical acclaim. It was this exhibition that inspired Picasso’s friends to suggest that he put on a rival show of his own featuring a similar group of charcoal portraits. Never one to shy away from attention, Picasso agreed to their idea and began to execute a group of portraits that were to be shown in a solo exhibition at Els Quatre Gats in February 1900. Instead of depicting the sophisticated circles of Barcelona, however, Picasso took as his subjects his own little-known group of friends and acquaintances – the Quatre Gats group, as well as a wide cross-section of Catalan bohemia: other painters, poets, musicians, students and performers. ‘If Casas had a monopoly of the distinguished people of the city,’ Sabartés recalled, ‘Picasso could attend to the rejects: us, for example’ (J. Sabartés, quoted in W. Rubin, ed., exh. cat., Picasso and Portraiture, New York & Paris, 1996-1997, p. 237).

Working with a feverish intensity, for the remaining months of 1899 Picasso threw himself into his new project, executing portraits in a variety of media, though predominantly in charcoal and often watercolour, at an incredibly rapid pace. ‘If he found no room for them on the table,’ Sabartés remembered, ‘he affixed them to the wall with one drawing-pin if he could not find two’ (Sabartés, quoted in ibid., p. 238). Portrait de Lluís Alemany was most likely one of the earliest of this ambitious group. At the beginning of the series, Picasso depicted his models against a simple yet anecdotal background, most commonly a landscape. As the series progressed, he gradually simplified the background, placing his subjects against a plane of uniform colour. In the present work, the smartly dressed Alemany stands against a rural backdrop divided into three distinct bands of colour. Picasso most frequently drew directly from the model, but invented these backgrounds, often designing them to complement the sitter’s identity or occupation.

By the time the exhibition opened at the beginning of February 1900, Picasso had created around fifty to a hundred of these charcoal portraits, though one visitor recalled seeing around one hundred and fifty. These works adorned the walls of Els Quatre Gats, hanging one atop the other, unframed and pinned straight onto the wall, creating an impressive ‘gallery of bohemians’ (J. Richardson, A Life of Picasso, vol. I, 1881-1906, London, 1991, p. 145). Though no catalogue exists from the show, there were also said to be three paintings included, one of which was Les derniers moments (later painted over with La vie of 1903), the work that was later selected to represent Spain in the 1900 Exposition Universelle in Paris. Although Picasso’s exhibition did not garner the same attention as Casas’, there were a number of reviews that exhorted the young artist’s exceptional talent. ‘We had never seen so rich an exhibition, and seldom one with so many good things,’ one critic wrote. ‘Picasso is an artist from head to toe… In each stroke of the pencil or of charcoal, in each brushstroke, one can see a profound faith in the art he is making, and a kind of inspired fever reminiscent of the best works of El Greco and Goya… His portraits can be rated as masterpieces; they are all true embodiments of those pipe-smoking characters we have seen walking down the Ramblas, but this collection presents more than personalities, it is a portrait of the present age. This exhibition may become a special testimonial and historical document’ (Unidentified review, 1900, in M. McCully, ed., A Picasso Anthology: Documents, Criticism, Reminiscences, Princeton, 1981, pp. 24-25).

Portrait de Lluís Alemany demonstrates the emergence of Picasso’s innovative style as he broke away from the academic rules of his artistic education and started to adopt a freer, more instinctive and idiosyncratic style. With rapidly applied lines of charcoal, Picasso drew the most distinctive features of Alemany, capturing his deep-set eyes and angular profile. With his hands firmly in his pocket, and gaze set straight ahead of him, he appears self-assured and confident. Picasso’s perceptive, penetrating gaze would remain the central, defining feature of his prolific portraiture. He would continue to depict himself, his lovers and his circle of friends in the years that followed this breakthrough exhibition, though rarely with such intensity. Indeed, it was not until the late 1910s and early 1920s that he returned to this form of documentary portraiture, when he began to depict those around him in finely rendered, Ingres-esque line drawings.

We would like to thank Mr Eduard Vallès for his help with researching this work.

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