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

Jeune homme

Pablo Picasso (1881-1973)
Jeune homme
stamped with foundry mark 'C. VALSUANI CIRE PERDUE' (on top of the base)
bronze with dark brown patina
Height: 31 5/8in. (80.5cm.)
Conceived in wood in Cannes, 6 June 1958; cast in bronze by Valsuani by 1966
The Artist, Estate Inventory Number 55904.
Marina Picasso, Paris, (by descent).
Jan Krugier Gallery, New York (on consignment).
Private Collection, New York.
Richard Gray Gallery, Chicago.
Waddington Galleries, London.
Private Collection, London.
Waddington Galleries, London.
Acquired from the above by Jeremy Lancaster, 16 July 1996.
The Sculpture of Picasso, exh. cat., New York, Pace Gallery, 1982, p. 10, fig. 6 (illustrated; incorrectly dated '1956').
W. Spies, Pablo Picasso: Das plastische Werk, Stuttgart 1971, p. 312, no. 509 (illustrated, p. 238; another cast; incorrectly dated '1956').
Picasso's Picassos: Paintings, Drawings & Sculpture from the Artist's Estate, exh. cat., Chicago, Richard Gray Gallery, 1985, p. 42, no. 38 (illustrated, p. 36; another cast; incorrectly dated '1956').
Late Picasso: Paintings, Sculpture, Drawings, Prints, 1953-1972, exh. cat., London, Tate Gallery, 1988, p. 292 (illustrated, in situ; wood example).
A. Charron, Images de Picasso, exh. cat., Musée Réattu- Commanderie Sainte-Luce, Arles, 1991, p. 54, no. 36 (illustrated, in situ; wood example).
Picasso contemporain, exh. cat., Lausanne, Musée d'Art Contemporain, 1994, p. 128 (illustrated in colour, p. 49; wood example).
Picasso, L'Africain, exh. cat., Geneva, Musée Barbier-Mueller, 1998, pp. 13 & 33, no. 42 (illustrated in colour, p. 12; wood example; incorrectly titled 'Le Jeune Homme (personnage avec sexe érigé)').
Pablo Picasso, The Appeal of Surface, exh. cat., Schwerin, Staatliches Museum, 1999, pp. 118 & 120, no. 45 (illustrated in colour, p. 121; wood example).
W. Spies, Picasso: The Sculptures, Stuttgart 2000, p. 416, no. 509 (illustrated, p. 383; illustrated, p. 316; wood example).
Picasso und die Schweiz, exh. cat., Bern, Kunstmuseum, 2001, p. 372, no. 152 (illustrated in colour, p. 310; wood example).
Picasso: 200 capolavori dal 1898 al 1972, exh. cat., Milan, Palazzo Reale, 2001, pp. 288 & 362, no. 157 (illustrated in colour, p. 288; another cast; incorrectly dated '1956').
Pablo Picasso, Metamorphoses: Works from 1898 to 1973 from the Marina Picasso Collection, exh. cat., New York, Jan Krugier Gallery, 2002, p. 126, no. 93 (illustrated in colour, p. 91; wood example).
The Sculptures of Pablo Picasso, exh. cat., New York, Gagosian Gallery, 2003, pp. 94 & 133 (illustrated, pp. 95 & 133; another cast).
Washington, D.C., Washington Gallery of Modern Art, Picasso since 1945, 1966 (unpaged).
Paris, Petit Palais, Hommage à Pablo Picasso: Dessins, Sculptures, Céramiques, 1966-1967, no. 325 (illustrated, unpaged; incorrectly dated '1956'). This exhibition later travelled to London, Tate Gallery, p. 80, no. 133 (illustrated, p. 80; incorrectly dated '1956'); and New York, Museum of Modern Art, p. 224, no. 132 (illustrated, p. 157; incorrectly dated '1956').
Melbourne, National Gallery of Victoria, Picasso, 1984, no. 156 (illustrated, p. 166). This exhibition later travelled to Sydney, Art Gallery of New South Wales.
Miami, Centre for the Fine Arts, Picasso At Work At Home: Selections from the Marina Picasso Collection, 1985-1986, no. 129 (illustrated, p. 130).
London, Waddington Galleries, Of the Human Form, 1995, p. 42, no. 26 (illustrated, p. 43; incorrectly dated '1956').
Birmingham, Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery (on long term loan).
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.
Sale room notice
Please note that this work is one of two recorded casts in bronze.

Brought to you by

Tessa Lord
Tessa Lord

Lot Essay

‘…a work of art is not achieved by thought but with your hands…’ – Pablo Picasso
(quoted in E. Cowling, Picasso, Style and Meaning, London, 2002, p. 638).

Originally conceived in 1958, Pablo Picasso’s playful bronze sculpture Jeune homme developed from the famed series of sculptural bathers the artist created during the mid-1950s, inspired by his experiences of life on the Mediterranean coast of France. As with these humorous, archetypal characters, the figure of the young man was originally constructed as a wooden assemblage, before being cast in a small edition of two bronzes by the artist. The present cast remained in Picasso’s personal collection until his death, appearing in several important exhibitions during the artist’s lifetime, before subsequently passing on to the artist’s granddaughter Marina.

During the mid-1950s, Picasso enjoyed an idyllic existence in the South of France, his days filled by frequent trips to the beach, painting in his studio, and leisurely afternoons with his new wife, Jacqueline Roque. The artist fully rooted himself in the Midi in the autumn of 1955 by purchasing the grand villa known as La Californie, just outside of Cannes, which boasted views of the bay and a serene position overlooking a park filled with palm trees. It was here, in a spacious, high-ceilinged room where he set up his studio, that Picasso’s creative vision returned once again to three-dimensional assemblage sculptures, creating a myriad of works from discarded pieces of wood and other unconventional materials, many of which complemented and fed his painterly activities. These sculptures, which transformed the everyday detritus of the artist’s life into playful, character-filled works of art, stand as a testament not only to Picasso’s unbridled spirit of invention, but also his deep appreciation and understanding of the fundamental structures of the human form.

Picasso’s renewed interest in assemblage sculptures appears to have been sparked by an interaction with the famed director Henri-George Clouzot and his crew, who were filming the artist for their feature Le mystère de Picasso (The Mystery of Picasso) during the summer of 1955, at the Studio de la Victorine in Nice. As the crew cast aside the crates which had been used to store and transport their equipment, Picasso decided to appropriate the containers into some sort of artwork-prop for the film. With assistance from the film crew, he began stacking them atop one another to create a giant wooden centaur, constructing the head from a lens box, the torso from a light stanchion, and other body parts from the disassembled crates, before painting the entire sculpture black. The great beast stood over two metres high and appeared towards the end of Clouzot’s 75-minute film, as Picasso energetically painted the sculpture with bold, white lines to delineate its features. Upon his return to the studio, the concept of creating a series of wooden figurative sculptures continued to occupy the artist’s imagination, and the following summer he embarked upon a group of bathers, inspired by his observations and experiences of the play of life on the beaches of the Mediterranean coast.

Using old pieces of lumber, fragments from broken furniture, wooden dowels and discarded stretcher bars and frames that lay haphazardly around the large studio at La Californie, Picasso created a series of basic, geometric characters known as Les baigneurs (Spies, nos. 503-508), hammered together, carved, painted and assembled with a rapidity and simplicity that recalled the playful wooden dolls he had made for his children in the 1930s and 1950s. Though created individually, the sextet of bathers were intended to be viewed as an ensemble sculpture, installed together and arranged in a particular configuration, like a theatrical tableau. Distinctly planar in format, and intended to be viewed frontally, the sculptures echo the constructions and theatre figures of the artist’s earlier Cubist phase. Indeed, Picasso’s choice of materials for these assemblages appears to directly recall the tableaux-reliefs which occupied him from 1912 to 1914, in which a similar selection of flat, wooden odds and ends were used to create three-dimensional compositions of newspapers, musical instruments, glasses and dice. In Les baigneurs, the figures partake in activities typical of a day at the beach, from the monumental La femme aux bras ecartés preparing to dive into the water, to the young child simply entitled L’enfant, only visible as a face and arms swimming through the water, and the tongue-in-cheek L’homme fontaine, who urinates in the water. The characters of Les baigneurs would subsequently inspire several painterly compositions, forming the primary subject of works such as Le tremplin and Baigneurs à la Garoupe.

Created in 1958, Jeune homme was part of a second series of wooden assemblage sculptures in which Picasso continued to explore the themes and methods of construction used in Les baigneurs. In these works, however, he began to push beyond the narrative context of life at the beach and instead began to focus more on archetypal characters, simply entitling his three-dimensional assemblages L’homme or, as in the present work, Jeune homme. Using the simplest of means and materials, here Picasso creates an image of a virile young man, standing bolt upright, his arms spread out to the side, his penis fully erect and pointing towards the viewer in a manner recalling some mysterious, ancient idol, a symbol of male fertility and prowess, worshipped by a long-disappeared Mediterranean civilisation.

Picasso kept the cast of wooden characters in his studio for the rest of his life, close by, like old friends, their simple, humanoid forms appearing behind easels, alongside canvases, sometimes tucked away in a corner, only to catch a visitor’s eye as they wandered around the space. Due to their fragile nature, Picasso decided shortly after their creation to cast the series of assemblages in bronze using the lost-wax technique, preserving the originals and creating more robust versions which could be easily transported for exhibition. In addition to the practical reasons associated with transforming the wooden sculptures into bronze, Picasso seems to have been equally interested in the shifting materiality of their forms during the casting process, revelling in the apparent disjunction between the smooth uniformity of the bronze when compared against the irregular nature of the originals. It is this inherent contrast, combined with the daring simplicity of their construction and the playful character they exude, that Picasso’s sculptures truly capture the viewer’s imagination.

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