Pablo Picasso (1881-1973)
Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's… Read more
Pablo Picasso (1881-1973)


Pablo Picasso (1881-1973)
painted sheet metal with traces of graphite
Height: 10 7/8 in. (27.5 cm.)
Executed in Cannes in 1961; this work is unique
Jacqueline Picasso, Mougins.
Private collection, by whom acquired from the above in 1978.
Acquired from the above by the present owner in the early 2000s.
D.D. Duncan, L'atelier silencieux, Paris, 1976, pp. 8-9, 65 & 67-68 (illustrated; illustrated again on the cover).
D.D. Duncan, Picassos letztes Selbstporträt: Sein Atelier, Notre-Dame de Vie, Munich, 1977, pp. 8-9, 65 & 67-68 (illustrated; illustrated again on the cover).
D.D. Duncan, Viva Picasso: A Centennial Celebration 1881-1981, New York, 1980, p. 107 (illustrated in situ at Picasso's studio in Notre-Dame-de-Vie, Mougins).
W. Spies & C. Piot, exh. cat., Picasso: Das plastische Werk, Berlin & Dusseldorf, 1983, no. 572A-2, p. 398 (the verso illustrated p. 363; catalogued as painted copper).
E. Quinn & P. Daix, Picasso avec Picasso, Paris, 1987, p. 269 (illustrated).
C. Casorali, E. Di Martini, V. Sanzo & M. Vescova, Picasso: Le espressioni di un genio, Milan, 1990, p. 70 (illustrated).
Cimaise, vol. 38, nos. 212-213, June - August 1991, p. 65 (illustrated).
L. Clergue, Picasso, mon ami, Paris, 1993 (illustrated in situ at Picasso's studio in Notre-Dame-de-Vie, Mougins).
W. Spies & C. Piot, 'Catalogue raisonné des sculptures', in exh. cat., Picasso Sculpture, Paris, 2000, p. 418, no. 572A-2 (the verso illustrated p. 347; catalogued as painted copper).
Paris, Centre Culturel du Marais, Picasso: La pièce à musique de Mougins, October 1982, no. 70, p. 1968 (illustrated p. 157).
Nîmes, Musée Archéologique, Picasso, Nîmes, July 1983, p. 40 (illustrated) .
Nice, Galerie Sapone, Picasso, June - July 1986, no. 34 (illustrated).
Balingen, Stadthalle, Pablo Picasso: Portrait, Figurine, Skulptur, June - August 1989, p. 157 (illustrated; titled 'Taube').
Luxembourg, Musée National d'Histoire et d'Art, L'école de Paris 1945-1964, December 1998 - February 1999 (illustrated; catalogued as painted copper).
Paris, Musée National d'Art Moderne, Centre Georges Pompidou, Picasso Sculpteur, June - September 2000, no. 253bis, p. 442.
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

Pablo Picasso’s Oiseau was executed in 1961 and is one of the most elegant examples of the artist’s sheet metal sculptures. Between 1960 and 1961, Picasso made over a hundred of these unique pieces in an explosive period of creativity, designing paper and cardboard maquettes, which were then replicated exactly in thin sheet metal at the Société Tritub, a metal-tubing factory in Vallauris. The next day, these pieces were returned to Picasso, and he would then add extra painted details. In Oiseau, Picasso has painted the metal form of the bird, adding pencil lines to denote its soft feathers and mouth. In contrast to the modelled, robust three-dimensional nature of his assemblages and ceramics, the sheet-metal sculptures were almost entirely flat with planar, frontal surfaces. The straight edges and angled folds in the metal create a play of light across the surface of Oiseau, lending this flattened abstract form a sense of three-dimensionality.

Amidst the heads of his lover and muse Jacqueline Roque, figures of men and women, animals and other objects, birds proliferated in this innovative series of sculptures. Birds had a special resonance and personal significance for Picasso, and had featured in his work since childhood. As a child, his father had taught him to paint doves, and throughout his life, he often kept a variety of birds around him in his studios and homes. As Françoise Gilot recalled of his studio on the rue des Grands Augustins, ‘Picasso loved to surround himself with birds and animals… Any time we went into the kitchen, the canaries chirped, the pigeons cooed and the turtledoves laughed but the owl remained stolidly silent…’ (Picasso, quoted in F. Gilot & C. Lake, Life with Picasso, New York, 1964, p. 144-145). The image of a bird had become indelibly linked to the artist following his design for the 1949 World Peace Congress in Paris. Featuring a pigeon rendered in a naturalistic manner, this motif was then developed by the artist into a simple line drawing of a dove in flight, an image that has since become an iconic, universal symbol of peace and one of the most recognisable images of the artist’s prolific oeuvre.

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