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Pablo Picasso (1881-1973)
Pablo Picasso (1881-1973)
Pablo Picasso (1881-1973)
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PROPERTY FROM THE JAMES AND MARILYNN ALSDORF COLLECTION
Pablo Picasso (1881-1973)

Verre

Details
Pablo Picasso (1881-1973)
Verre
signed 'Picasso' (lower left)
oil, gouache, pencil and printed paper collage with metal pin on paper
10 7/8 x 8 7/8 in. (27.7 x 22.5 cm.)
Executed in Avignon in summer 1914
Provenance
René Gaffé, Brussels.
Roland Penrose, London (acquired from the above, 1937).
Richard L. Feigen & Co., New York (acquired from the above).
Acquired from the above by the late owners, July 1963.
Literature
S. Takiguchi, ed., Album surréaliste, Tokyo, 1937, p. 111 (illustrated, pl. 98).
C. Zervos, Pablo Picasso, Paris, 1942, vol. 2**, no. 462 (illustrated, pl. 215).
P. Daix and J. Rosselet, Picasso: The Cubist Years, 1907-1916: A Catalogue Raisonné of the Paintings and Related Works, London, 1979, p. 335, no. 773 (illustrated).
Exhibited
London, Zwemmer Gallery, Chirico, Picasso, June 1937, no. 27 (titled Le pichet blanc; with incorrect dimensions).
The London Gallery, Ltd., Picasso in English Collections, May 1939, no. 17 (illustrated; dated 1913 and titled Le pichet blanc).
The London Gallery, Ltd., The Cubist Spirit in its Time, March-May 1947, p. 25, no. 28 (titled Le Pichet blanc).
Knokke-Le-Zoute, Albert Plage, Grande Salle des expositions de "La Réserve," Picasso, July-August 1950, p. 13, no. 23 (titled Le pichet blanc).
The Art Institute of Chicago, Picasso in Chicago: Paintings, Drawings, and Prints from Chicago Collections, February-March 1968, p. 113, no. 22 (illustrated, p. 26).
The Cleveland Museum of Art; Philadelphia Museum of Art and Paris, Galeries nationales du Grand Palais, Picasso & Things, February-December 1992, p. 148, no. 51 (illustrated in color, p. 149).
New Haven, Yale University Art Gallery and Durham, North Carolina, Nasher Museum of Art, Picasso and the Allure of Language, January 2009-January 2010, p. 75 (illustrated in color, fig. 5).

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Allegra Bettini
Allegra Bettini Head of Works on Paper Sale, Associate Specialist

Lot essay

Verre is an exquisite Cubist still life collage dating from Picasso’s prolonged stay in Avignon during the summer of 1914. “With its fussy wallpaper of chrysanthemums and other flowers and the pin still piercing through the white paper for the glass, it would be easy to believe that this papier collé had been made in Céret in the spring of 1913 instead of Avignon in the summer of 1914,” explained Jean Sutherland Boggs (Picasso & Things, exh. cat., op. cit., p. 149). However, there are several elements that suggest a later date: its reduction in the number of collage components, the muted and pared down palette of brown, olive, and orange. Boggs wrote further on the topic that “the real clue to the 1914 Avignon dating is the shape of the glass itself—unknown in Picasso’s work until he spent the summer there—a stubby goblet with a short stem, rather excessively bulging curves on one contour, a very generous mouth with a full lip and a dot as an indication of throat. In several works a similar glass was clearly placed in a café with accouterments like playing cards. Here, the wallpaper admittedly suggests a more domestic setting. In the economical disposition of the pieces of paper, Picasso showed more interest in visual movement through diagonals than he had that spring in Paris. On the other hand, the glass is more contained and through its “throat” reveals a trough into the piece of brown paper behind. Although the charming wallpaper is commercial, Picasso, as usual, has painted his own faux bois. And he has taken the liberty of painting reddish passages at the foot of the glass and below the wallpaper, which pulls the papier collé together. The longer we look at the work, the more commanding the humble glass becomes” (ibid.).

Despite the outbreak of the First World War and its lasting implications on the French avant-garde, Picasso continued to make significant developments to Cubism transitioning from the Analytical to the Synthetic. The rigorous discipline of Analytical Cubism, pioneered by Picasso and Georges Braque over the previous years and with its deliberately restrained palette and codified style, was becoming démodé. Such shifts in the movement were in part due to the emergence of collage as a technique among the avant-garde. Picasso made his first collage in May 1912 when he glued a piece of oilcloth printed with a chair caning pattern to an oval cubist canvas he had been painted for a trompe l’oeil effect (Zervos, vol. 2*, no. 294). After Braque began using imitation wood-grain paper purchased at a local decorator’s supply store, and from it cut and pasted several pieces down on paper, then drew on and around them, producing the first papier collé. Picasso could instantly foresee the vast range of possibilities this new technique offered, and sometime later that fall, he photographed a wall in his Paris studio showing two rows of his own versions pinned above his bed. Papiers collés set the stage for the new synthetic phase in cubism, providing new grounds for future development, while making color once again a key element in the modernist mix.

Picasso had initially traveled to Avignon for the summer with Eva Gouel, often considered the muse of Synthetic Cubism after the Analytical version ushered in during the days of Fernande Olivier, whom she had supplanted. In June, Picasso arrived at Avignon to stay at the Grand Nouvel Hôtel on rue Molière before attempting to find accommodation in Nearby Tarascon. After failing to find acceptable logging, he returned to Avignon to a Spanish-style home at 14, rue Saint-Bernard. The artist’s decision to stay in the area underscored a transition for the artist from the days he was inseparable from Braque when they would even holiday together. Now, he was placing some distance between them, perhaps in a way reasserting his own artistic independence in a more literal fashion. This separation was exacerbated by the outbreak of war. As a foreigner (similar to Juan Gris), Picasso was excluded from the action, but many of his close friends either were mobilized or volunteered. Thus these situational factors allowed for Picasso to work on his own to a degree which saw immediate beneficial effects. In a letter to Daniel-Henri Kahnweiler, Max Jacob wrote of his various friends: “our friend Braque is a sergeant at Le Havre; Our friend Picasso is living at 14, rue Saint-Bernard and people say he’s doing the most beautiful things he’s ever done” (quoted in W. Rubin, Picasso and Braque: Pioneering Cubism, exh. cat., The Museum of Modern Art, New York, 1989, p. 432).

That old vanguard of Cubism had dissipated, and the field was left open for Picasso to develop in a new direction; when his friends returned from the War, they would themselves adopt their own new styles. As Picasso would recall later to Kahnweiler, “When mobilization was decreed in August 1914, I accompanied Braque and Derain to the railway station at Avignon. We have never found each other again” (Picasso, quoted in D.H. Kahnweiler, Juan Gris: His Life and Work, London, 1969, p. 166).

Lot Essay Header Image: Present lot illustrated (detail).

The James and Marilyn Alsdorf Collection

PABLO PICASSO (1881-1973)

19810-pablo-picasso-verre

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