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

Homme et trois femmes nues (recto); Femme et deux hommes (verso)

PABLO PICASSO (1881-1973)
Homme et trois femmes nues (recto); Femme et deux hommes (verso)
signed and dated 'Picasso 3.6.67' (lower left; recto); signed and dated again and numbered '6.6.67. IV Picasso' (lower right; verso)
brush and pen and black and India inks and ink wash on paper (recto and verso)
19 3/8 x 23 ¾ in. (49.2 x 60.4 cm.)
Executed on 3 and 6 June 1967
Galerie Louise Leiris, Paris.
Anon. sale, Sotheby Parke Bernet, Inc., New York, 17 November 1983, lot 400.
Harvey S. Lubitz, New York (probably acquired at the above sale).
Acquired from the above by the late owners, circa 1983.
C. Feld, Picasso: His Recent Drawings, 1966-1968, New York, 1969, p. 252, nos. 167 and 174 (recto and verso illustrated).
C. Zervos, Pablo Picasso, Paris, 1973, vol. 27, nos. 11 and 17 (recto illustrated, pl. 4; verso illustrated, pl. 5).
Paris, Galerie Louise Leiris, Picasso, Dessins 1966-1967, February-March 1968, p. 17, nos. 20 and 20bis (recto and verso illustrated; verso titled Hommes et Femme).

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Lot Essay

On the third and sixth days of June in 1967, Picasso covered the recto and verso of a large sheet of paper with two bold, striking images. Both compositions are richly worked with brush and black ink, applied with bold, expressive gestures—evidence of Picasso's confident painterly touch during this mature period of his career. The artist was by now in his eighties and comfortably ensconced in his villa in Vallauris, yet he remained at the height of his creative and generative powers; his appetite for life and art remained undiminished.
Both recto and verso depict erotic visions of male and female nudes, with no clear narrative pretext. Though both sides were executed in the same medium, they represent slightly different subjects and techniques. The front depicts three women: one full-length, inverted figure reclines like a sleeping odalisque. A second woman stands upright with her back to us; yet her torso is twisted, so that both her buttocks, breasts and the side of her face are visible. She is partially obscured by the bust of a third woman, who faces in the opposite direction. All three fall under the gaze of a much larger male figure, who crosses his arms over his chest and contemplates the figures before him. The scene is more finely wrought, with thin lines articulating anatomical details of the eyebrows and spine; pale washes of ink form the shadows between the figures.
The back of the sheet, by contrast, is more thickly and impulsively brushed. Here too, the figure of a seated nude woman is flanked by two male figures. The female body is comprised of a few undulating curves and her thick hair is conveyed with an opaque veil of black ink—evocative of the dark, rich hair of Picasso's final wife and muse, Jacqueline Roque, who appeared more frequently in his art than any of his other lovers. The two male figures facing the woman are pictured at different proximities; the figure on the left fully standing but his face is cast in shadow, while the figure on the right is simply a large bearded face in profile.
This complex, dreamy double-sided sheet was featured in an exhibition devoted to Picasso's most recent drawings at the Galerie Louise Leiris in Paris in 1968. Both sides were also illustrated in a book on the same subject, with an essay written by Charles Feld, the following year.

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