PABLO PICASSO (1881-1973)

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Result : 162 500 EUR

PABLO PICASSO (1881-1973)

Femme debout tenant deux enfants, 1901
Charcoal on paper, signed upper right
31 x 22 cm - 12 1/4 x 8 5/8 in.

Collection madame Pierre de Saint-Fucien Puis par descendance au propriétaire actuel, vers 1970Collection privée, France

C. Zervos, Pablo Picasso, Supplément aux années 1892-1902, Editions Cahiers d'Art, Paris, 1969, vol. 21, n°278 p.105

It was in this spirit that he visited the Saint-Lazare women's prison several times at the end of the summer of 1901. There he observed and drew inspiration from former prostitutes and their children. The maternal silhouette in our drawing could correspond to the portraits he made there. The artist draws a mother surrounded by her two children with thick, quick and lively strokes. The three characters are intertwined. The mother's body, all oblique, dominates the composition, which gives a sculptural dimension to the whole.
The mother's face is stylized when the chil­dren's faces are hidden from the viewer. He does not identify his models but creates a new, miserable type of motherhood. This work in a few precise strokes thus sees the birth of Picasso's Blue Period, a period that reveals the immense talent of the artist and highlighted by Ambroise Vollard himself during a retrospective in 1910.

Born in 1881 in Andalusia and died in 1973 in Mougins, Pablo Picasso is an emblematic and even mythical figure of modern art. He crossed the 20th century by bringing his personal touch and his always innovative look within each of the great artistic currents that marked this century.

The year 1901 was an important turning point in the famous painter's artistic career. He spent the first part of the year in Spain, where he participated in the creation of Arte Joven. This is an independent and avant-garde magazine that aims to present the new artistic scene. Then, as agreed the previous year, the nineteen-year-old artist returns to Paris to organize his first solo exhi­bition with Ambroise Vollard, the greatest dealer of the early 20th century. It was a real commercial success for the young Spanish, still unknown: all the works then presented were sold, albeit at very attractive prices. The critics recognized a real talent and underlined it but regretted a lack of originality in the technique and the choice of subject matter. In fact, Picasso painted sixty-four canvases with an emphasis on representing modern themes very much inspired by the paintings of the masters of the time such as Van Gogh, Degas or Tou­louse-Lautrec, as in the Japanese Divan.

It was then, in the exaltation of this begin­ning of fame, that Pablo Picasso learnt about the suicide of his great Catalan friend Carlos Casagemas. He was deeply shocked by this tragedy and his work was irreme­diably marked by it. In his paintings and drawings, the artist approaches melancholic and dark themes that he highlights with a palette of cold tones dominated by the color blue. During these few years, Picasso was mainly interested in representations of suffering, loneliness and poverty. He drew beggars, blind people, acrobats and prostitutes with starving figures and harsh looks. He emancipated himself from the generation of artists from which he drew his inspiration by moving away from the noisy and eventful cabaret or opera painting. He then concentrated on his desire to repre­sent the depth of human nature. These empty, lost, emaciated faces are a way of expressing the pain of loss and the con­frontation with the death of the young man.
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