Pablo Picasso (1881-1973)
Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's… Read more PROPERTY FROM A DISTINGUISHED PRIVATE EUROPEAN COLLECTION
Pablo Picasso (1881-1973)

Picador et personnage

Pablo Picasso (1881-1973)
Picador et personnage
signed 'Picasso' (lower right) and dated three times '4.6.60. 5.6.60. 6.6.60.' (upper left)
pen and brush with India ink and wash on paper
19 5/8 x 12¾ in. (50.2 x 32.4 cm.)
Executed on 4-6 June 1960
Galerie de l'Elysée [Alex Maguy], Paris.
Private collection, France, by whom acquired from the above circa 1962; sale, Sotheby's, London, 27 June 2001, lot 156.
Private collection, by whom acquired at the above sale; sale, Christie's, New York, 4 November 2010, lot 157.
Acquired at the above sale by the present owner.
J.C. Lambert, Picasso: Dessins de tauromachie 1917-1960, Paris, 1960 (illustrated on the cover).
J. Sabartés, Picasso: Toreros; With Four Original Lithographs, London, 1961, no. 55.
C. Zervos, Pablo Picasso, vol. 19, Oeuvres de 1959 à 1961, Paris, 1968, no. 306 (illustrated p. 96).
The Picasso Project, ed., Picasso's Paintings, Watercolors, Drawings and Sculpture: The Sixties I, 1960-1963, San Francisco, 2002, no. 60-190, p. 70 (illustrated).
Paris, Galerie Louise Leiris, Picasso: Dessins 1959-1960, November - December 1960, no. 46 (illustrated).
Barcelona, Sala Gaspar, Picasso: Dibujos, gouaches, acuarelas, April 1961, no. 66 (illustrated).
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 executed Picador et personnage between the 4th and 6th of June 1960, during a period in which he was obsessed with the bullfight, or corrida. In 1959, he drew the illustrations for La Tauromaquia o arte de torear, a treatise on bullfighting by Pepe Illo, and provided drawings for Toros y toreros, a text by the artist’s friend, the celebrated torero Luis Miguel Dominguín. Speaking of his work at this time, Picasso expressed how he had internalised the corrida, how it had become utterly essential to him, preoccupying him even when he was unable to be at the ring: ‘Yes, it is my passion...but sometimes something stops me attending... Then, my thoughts are in the arena, I hear the pasodoble, I see the crowd, the entry of the troop, the first bull. One time I felt so bad at missing a fight that I began to conjure up all its phases in my mind...and this has rooted me completely in the art of the bullfight...’ (Picasso, quoted in Picasso, Toros y toreros, exh. cat., Paris, 1993, p. 224).

The bullfight had fascinated Picasso since the 1930s, serving as a reflection of the artist’s own concerns with nationality and with his native Spain. Enthralled by the drama, violence and the theatrical spectacle that took place within the confined stage-like setting of the bullring, the artist captured every aspect of the scene in his art. In Picador et personage, Picasso has depicted the figure of the picador, standing in profile wearing his elaborately embroidered bolero and characteristic wide-brimmed hat, and holding his lance. With an array of swirling, ornate brushstrokes, Picasso has conveyed, with deft rapidity, the spectacle, energy and drama of the bullfight in one of its leading protagonists. 

As with the musketeer, the matador and picador – quintessential figures of masculinity, virility and valour – acted as alter egos of the artist, an extension of his own persona as he approached old age. Art, for Picasso, was a form of autobiography, and the degree to which the artist identified with the role of the bullfighter was evident in the close relationship that he had with the matador, Dominguín. Indeed, Hélène Parmelin, a writer and close friend of the artist, described the intimate affinity that Picasso had with the bullfight: ‘[The corrida] is something in [Picasso] which is as much a part of his life as going up to the studio. He dresses in his best and goes with his wife and it is the festival of the sun. But all the rest of the time, too, the spirit of the corrida is part of his way of life. He has bulls in his soul. The matadors are his cousins. The arena is his house’ (H. Parmelin, Picasso Says…, London, 1969, p. 80).  

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