Pablo Picasso - Evening & Day Editions London Wednesday, January 18, 2023 | Phillips

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  • Following the end of the Second World War and the liberation of Paris from Nazi control, Pablo Picasso turned his creative attention to the medium of lithography. His renewed interest in this printing technique coincided with a new love interest: the 21-year-old artist Françoise Gilot. The pair met in 1943, moved in together in 1946, and had two children over their decade-long partnership, which ended in 1953 due to Picasso’s serial infidelities. Yet, in the immediate post-war years, Françoise represented a renaissance for Picasso, with her presence symbolising the exciting promise of a new beginning in his life and art. Unsurprisingly then, when Picasso embarked on a spate of over 400 lithographs in the studio of the printer Fernand Mourlot, it was Françoise Gilot’s likeness that frequently appeared in the images he produced.


    Director Henri Georges Clouzot with Pablo Picasso, his companion Francoise Gilot and actor Yves Montand at Premiere of Film The Wages of Fear at Cannes Film Festival April 16, 1953. Image: © AGIP / Bridgeman Images

    Among the most famous lithographs Picasso created in this period were a series of prints titled Femme au fauteuil (Woman in Armchair). These prints depict Françoise Gilot seated in an armchair, wearing a coat that Picasso had brought back for her from Poland after attending the World Peace Congress of 1948 in Wrocław. Dubbed her ‘Polish Coat’ in the titles of some of the artist’s works, Françoise wore the coat frequently, including to the Cannes Film Festival in 1953. Originally intended to be an intricate five-colour lithograph, zinc plates were prepared for each colour the artist wished to use: yellow, red, green, purple,and black. The initial idea for the project was abandoned due to the sheer complexity, but Picasso continued to work on the now surplus zinc plates in a bid to create something new. Relishing the freedom lithography afforded him to easily rework an image in the same way he would a painting, Picasso continued to amend the plates, producing several states from each. From the red plate, Picasso produced Femme au fauteuil No. 1 (d'après le rouge) (Woman in Armchair No. 1, from the red), creating four states overall, with the present lot demonstrating the third state of his process. Widely considered to be the pinnacle of his lithographic work, the Femme au fauteuil series highlights not only the artist’s mastery of the lithographic technique, but it also exemplifies his sustained meditations on his lover, Françoise Gilot.

    • Provenance

      Halcyon Gallery, London
      Acquired from the above by the present owner in 2015

    • Literature

      Georges Bloch 586
      Fernand Mourlot 134
      Felix Reuße 386

    • 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. 

      View More Works

Property from a Private UK Collection


Femme au fauteuil No. 1 (d'après le rouge) (Woman in Armchair No. 1, from the red) (Bl. 586, M. 134, R. 386)

Lithograph, on Arches paper, with full margins.
I. 69.8 x 54.8 cm (27 1/2 x 21 5/8 in.)
S. 76.4 x 56.4 cm (30 1/8 x 22 1/4 in.)

Signed and numbered 46/50 in pencil, Mourlot's third state of four (there were also 5 artist's proofs), published by Mourlot, Paris, framed.

Full Cataloguing

£30,000 - 50,000 

Sold for £59,220

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Evening & Day Editions

London Auction 18 - 19 January 2023