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  • Literature

    Fernand Mourlot 149
    Georges Bloch 589
    Feliz Reuβe 456

  • Catalogue Essay

    Picasso indexed his relationships with prints that collected moments and consolidated memories. His lithography practice broke almost every technical rule and reconciled his tumult in both the outside world and within.

    Imperfection lent unique vitality to Picasso’s lithographs. Legendary master printmaker Fernand Mourlot noted he was an assiduous artist who learned from masters that were trained to approach lithographic stones with great care, often in facial masks so as to avoid errant moisture. Mourlot described that Picasso abandoned such strict processes, moving freely and uncovered, “[he] did the opposite of what he learned . . .”, and “ . . . is not prepared to accept the slightest retouching. . .” Picasso countered: “the saliva makes a blank, and we can make use of it!”

    In 1944, a fateful printmaking ‘lesson’ began the courtship of the artist and his new young muse, Françoise Gilot; they studied proof images together of his 1930’s Vollard Suite which would be published in the 50’s. Françoise served as a catalyst for Picasso to work seriously with lithography and by the fall of 1945 he anxiously brought four frontal head drawings of Françoise to the Mourlot atelier ready to be transferred to the stone and developed into an edition. Lot 15 from November 2, 1945, Tête de femme (Head of a Woman) is one of those images. Picasso’s 10-year relationship with Françoise led to a decade of masterwork with the medium as he produced three quarters of all of his lithographs during this time while he was with her. She served as the woman who obsessed and disturbed him in all of his mediums: paintings, prints, sculpture and ceramics. Though, she did not see herself in many of these female portrait images.

    Picasso’s lithographic portraits of women were at once iconoclastic, yet also rooted to the great traditions of Post-Impressionist and Spanish painting. Adhering to formats of formal portraiture seen in works by favorite masters such as Velázquez, Cranach, Delacroix, Ingres and Cézanne, Picasso did replace conventionally attractive pictures with emotionally belabored gestures. Lot 16 of 1946, Tête de juene fille (Head of a Young Girl) typified this process: a portrait of Françoise in several states worked, re- and over-worked and erased countless times – each with pure virtuosity – ranging from painterly to rich density and, finally to this tenth and final state, one that hews close to abstraction.

    For Gagosian Gallery’s seminal exhibition in 2012 Picasso and Françoise Gilot, Paris-Vallauris, 1943-1953 - the art historian Charles Stuckey described Picasso’s lithographs as “his side of the story” that “go beyond documentation to diagnosis, providing something like case studies of how he understood his lovers’ multiple personalities and moods.” Gilot, however, never wanted to be the face of his art stating: I tried to explain to him that it was his work that held me, not the image of myself that I saw in it. What I did see in it, I told him, was him, not me. “In all of his lithographs of her, a constant tug-of-war presided, between how she wanted him to see her – the way she was – and how he saw her as she filled his consciousness with fantasies and frustrations. To the extent that they convey his mystification, as a group they stand among Picasso’s most moving portraits." Charles Stuckey The Face of Picasso’s Lithography.

    The next four lots from various owners form a cross-section of portraits illustrating the iconic role Françoise played in Picasso’s world during this time – some with more obvious likenesses than others, but each with her strong underlying identity.

  • Artist Biography

    Pablo Picasso

    Spanish • 1881 - 1973

    One of the most dominant and influential artists of the 20th century, Pablo Picasso was a master of endless reinvention. While significantly contributing to the movements of Surrealism, Neoclassicism and Expressionism, he is best known for pioneering the groundbreaking movement of Cubism alongside fellow artist Georges Braque in the 1910s. In his practice, he drew on African and Iberian visual culture as well as the developments in the fast-changing world around him.

    Throughout his long and prolific career, the Spanish-born artist consistently pushed the boundaries of art to new extremes. Picasso's oeuvre is famously characterized by a radical diversity of styles, ranging from his early forays in Cubism to his Classical Period and his later more gestural expressionist work, and a diverse array of media including printmaking, drawing, ceramics and sculpture as well as theater sets and costumes designs. 

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14

Tête de jeune fille (Head of a Young Girl)

1949
Lithograph, on Arches paper, with full margins, the second (final) state.
I. 15 5/8 x 11 3/4 in. (39.7 x 29.8 cm)
S. 22 3/8 x 15 5/8 in. (56.8 x 39.7 cm)

Signed and numbered 20/50 in pencil (there were also 5 artist's proofs), framed.

Estimate
$20,000 - 30,000 

Sold for $45,000

Contact Specialist
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+1 212 940 1221
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+1 212 940 1222
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Specialist
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General Inquiries
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Evening & Day Editions

New York Auction 17 October 2018