PABLO PICASSO (1881-1973)
PABLO PICASSO (1881-1973)
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PABLO PICASSO (1881-1973)


PABLO PICASSO (1881-1973)
pen and ink and pencil on paper
10 ¼ x 13 5⁄8 in. (26 x 34.7 cm.)
Executed in 1934
The artist's estate.
Marina Picasso, by descent from the above.
Galerie Jan Krugier, Geneva, by whom acquired from the above; sale, Christie's, London, 26 June 2003, lot 428.
Acquired at the above sale by the present owner.
C. Zervos, Pablo Picasso, vol. VIII, Œuvres de 1932 à 1937, Paris, 1957, no. 185 (illustrated p. 30).
Munich, Haus der Kunst, Collection Marina Picasso, February - April 1981, no. 167 (illustrated p. 331); this exhibition later travelled to Cologne, Josef-Haubrich-Kunsthalle, August - October 1981; Frankfurt, Städtische Galerie im Städelschen Kunstinstitut, October 1981 - January 1982; and Zurich, Kunsthaus, January - March 1982.
Geneva, Jan Krugier Gallery, Piccaso, Dessins et Aquarelles, June - July 1987.

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Ottavia Marchitelli
Ottavia Marchitelli Senior Specialist, Head of The Art of The Surreal Sale

Lot Essay

Executed in 1934, Composition is a fantastical image, born from Pablo Picasso’s vivid imagination. Featuring a host of strange, multipartite figures and forms, it is one of a series of personal, Surrealist visions created over the course of that year, when Picasso was particularly connected to Surrealism. In 1933 he had designed a cover for Minotaure, the Surrealist periodical edited by André Breton, which also featured the artist’s concurrent Anatomies, a sequence of drawings in which the female figure is transformed into a composite of found object parts. He also took part in the Surrealist Exhibition at the Galerie Pierre Colle. Never before had Picasso himself so overtly linked himself with Surrealism, yet he took care to maintain his artistic independence, keen to remain a distinctive figure of the avant-garde. Featuring hybrid characters, their monstrous mouths wide and teeth bared, this drawing, like much of Picasso’s work from this time, is tinged with a sense of underlying violence. This was a particularly turbulent period of Picasso’s life. While international political events grew ever more worrisome, Picasso’s marriage to Olga Khokhlova was fast unravelling, accelerated due to his love affair with Marie-Thérèse Walter. As a result of this personal and public upheaval, ghostly apparitions and threatening visions began to emerge from the artist’s anguished subconscious, proliferating in his art, as Composition demonstrates.

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