PABLO PICASSO (1881-1973)
PABLO PICASSO (1881-1973)
PABLO PICASSO (1881-1973)
PABLO PICASSO (1881-1973)
3 More
Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's… Read more
PABLO PICASSO (1881-1973)

Le Gamin

PABLO PICASSO (1881-1973)
Le Gamin
signed 'Picasso' (upper right)
pencil and gouache on paper
7 3/8 x 4 3/8 in. (18.8 x 11 cm.)
Drawn circa 1905
Buchholz Gallery, New York.
Walter P. Chrysler Jr., Provincetown, Massachusetts, by March 1939; sale, Sotheby's, London, 1 July 1959, lot 29.
Arthur Tooth & Sons Ltd., London, by whom acquired at the above sale.
Acquired from the above on 19 November 1959.
C. Hussey, 'Fyfield Manor, Wiltshire - III. The Home of the Earl and Countess of Avon', in Country Life, no. 3370, London, 5 October 1961, p. 753 (illustrated fig. 6, p. 752).
D. Sutton, 'A Statesman's Collection', in Apollo, June 1969, London, no. 15, p. 466 (illustrated p. 467).
New York, Perls Galleries, Picasso Before 1910, March - April 1939, no. 18.
Richmond, Virginia Museum of Arts, Chrysler Collection Exhibition, January - March 1941, no. 197, p. 113. This exhibition later travelled to Philadelphia, Museum of Fine Art, March - May 1941 (dated '1903-1905').
Birmingham, Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, Paintings and Drawings from the Collection of Lord Avon, January – March 1966, no. 15.
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.
Further details
Claude Picasso has confirmed the authenticity of this work.
Sale room notice
Please note that the correct medium for this work is pencil and gouache on paper and not as stated in the printed catalogue.

Brought to you by

Benedict Winter
Benedict Winter Associate Director, Specialist

Lot Essay

In 1905, when Le Gamin was drawn, Picasso was still an up-and-coming twenty-four year old artist tirelessly sketching in his small atelier. He was then living in the Bateau-Lavoir, Paris - a community of promising young artists including the likes of Juan Gris, Amedeo Modigliani and Constantin Brancusi, in which reigned a dynamic, eclectic atmosphere where a young creative prodigy such as Picasso could truly thrive.

Three years before moving there, his debut exhibition at Ambroise Vollard’s in 1901 had launched his career in the French capital. Romantic success was added to professional, when, within the bustling rooms and hallways of the Bateau-Lavoir, Picasso met the dashing Fernande Olivier, falling deeply in love. Gone were the dark days of grief after the death of his close friend Carlos Casagemas, which prompted the artist’s Blue Period: the meeting with Fernande inspired a turning point in his career and acted as a springboard for his delicate and joyful Rose Period.

Le Gamin (‘The young child’) belongs to this extremely productive phase in Picasso’s career. Enthused over the circus and its travelling families of saltimbanques, young Pablo could not stop sketching them. The children particularly fascinated him. As his main dealer Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler recalls ‘he has painted, drawn, etched, sculptured many children because he adores children, especially young ones. I have seen him affectionate at all times with the children around him’ (D.-H. Kahnweiler, ‘Introduction’, in H. Kay, Picasso’s World of Children, New York, 1965, p. 8). While Picasso’s first child, Paulo, was born only in 1921, the playfulness and experimentation intrinsic to children particularly resonated with him even before then: when looking at this drawing, it is hard not to be reminded of the countless Rose Period children painted by Picasso, most notably in the Family of Saltimbanques (National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C.) or his Boy Leading a Horse (MoMA, New York).

This refined sketch reminds its viewers of why Picasso once stated that it took him an entire lifetime to learn how to draw like a child. Here, spontaneity is coupled with careful calculation on the artist’s part, as evident in the subtle shaping of the child’s torso and in the soft rendering of his trousers. The drawing is certainly a testament to Picasso’s early abilities as a dessinateur at their finest.

As Helen Kay beautifully put it, ‘Pablo Picasso looked up from his sketchbook at his children dancing, and then drew a ronde des enfants. His children, playing, proclaimed the right of children to play. He stamped the personal with the universal and so brought forth a symbol of enduring life. Because of that innate understanding of beginnings which is rooted in himself, he captured the sights and sounds and smells of childhood’ (H. Kay, Picasso’s World of Children, New York, 1965, p. 11).

More from Churchill to Eden: The Collection of the Earl and Countess of Avon

View All
View All