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PROPERTY FROM THE ESTATE OF MADAME COLETTE JACQUEMIN
Christie's is delighted to present for sale four paintings by Pablo Picasso from the estate of Madame Colette Jacquemin. Colette's story is a testament to her lively wit, generous spirit and passion for art. A Breton by birth, she trained as a pharmacist and settled in Haute Marne, with her husband, where she ran her own pharmacy. After 10 years of marriage, the couple's decision to separate led Colette to Paris, where she opened more pharmacies and enjoyed professional success. She also found newfound personal happiness when she met and fell in love with the Spanish artist José Vilato Ruiz Fin. 'Fin', as he was known, was Pablo Picasso's nephew, the son of Picasso's younger sister Lola. This relationship introduced Colette to the fascinating and exciting contemporary art world of 1960s Paris. She and Fin enjoyed hosting dinners for writers and artists at their Montmartre apartment and were regulars at the Tabac Vert in Montparnasse, dining with the likes of Óscar Domínguez, Apelles Fenosa and César.
Colette became an integral part of Fin's extended family and was welcomed by Picasso and his wife Jacqueline into their home, Notre-Dame-de-Vie, outside Mougins and into their closely knit circle of friends, often accompanying them to bullfights, exhibitions and vernissages. The warmth between the two couples is evident in the remaining letters and postcards, in which Jacqueline refers to Colette as 'ma petite soeur'. In one note Jacqueline overcame her self-confessed reserve to express her love for Colette and Fin: 'Je ne "me manifeste" pas souvent, mais je vous aime bien, vous souhaite tout ce que vous voulez'. Picasso appreciated Colette for her good humour, unwavering dedication to his nephew's artistic career, and amusingly, on one occasion, her own unwitting contribution to Picasso's oeuvre. After a visit to Notre-Dame-de-Vie when she brought one of her mother's legendary 'Pithivier' cakes, which Picasso loved, she was flummoxed to discover that its special baking tin had vanished. This later gave way to much amusement when it reappeared as the wavy-edged bonnet on the baby in Picasso's plaster cast of La poussette (Museum Ludwig, Cologne).
The late 1960s were marked by personal tragedy for Colette as Fin fell seriously ill, finally dying in 1969. With heartfelt appreciation for the loving care she took of their brother during his extended illness, each of Fin's four siblings gave Colette a painting by their uncle, Pablo Picasso, as a fitting expression of the family's gratitude. These four paintings will be presented in these rooms at the 23 June Evening Sale (lots 46-47) and the 24 June Day Sale (lots 337-338). Colette spent the remaining thirty years of her life doing her utmost to promote Fin's art in association with his family, her devotion was sans fin.