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

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  • Following the Second World War, Pablo Picasso desired a change of scenery. He decided to leave Paris in favour of the Côte d’Azur in the late 1940s. In doing so, the artist inadvertently distanced himself from the capital’s lithography and etching studios which he had frequented for his printmaking needs over the previous decades. Subsequently, Picasso had to alter his printmaking practice out of necessity, rather than choice. On the south coast, Picasso met a local printer called Hidalgo Arnéra, who specialised in posters. Arnéra introduced Picasso to the linocut process and, over the following years, Arnéra assisted the Spanish artist by printing his works. They settled into a routine, with the artist working late into the night, and delivering the works to Arnéra’s workshop the following morning. Arnéra then returned to Picasso’s residence at 1:30pm, and Picasso would review the proofs. This process speaks to the collaborative nature of Picasso’s foray into linocut, which in turn resulted in the work Deux femmes avec un vase à fleurs of 1959.

    “Picasso worked at night; in the morning, Marcel the Chauffer brought what he had completed to the print shop… I pulled the proofs and returned them to [his home] La Californie at exactly 1:30. This regular rhythm of working continued for eight years, every day, except Saturday and Sunday”
    —Hidalgo Arnéra

    Pablo Picasso and Hidalgo Arnéra. Mas Notre-Dame-de-Vie, Mougins, 1964. Image: Edward Quinn, © edwardquinn.com

    Deux femmes avec un vase à fleurs is an example of Picasso’s revolutionary linocut ‘reduction’ technique. Rather than cutting into separate linoleum blocks for each colour used and running the risk of the layers not lining up correctly, Picasso decided to make successive cuts in the same block, using a new colour at each stage. Picasso invented this method during a small burst of activity between 1958 and 1963, when linocut temporarily became his favoured graphic medium. Forming a relatively small part of his oeuvre, Picasso’s innovative approach to the linocut technique meant that only a finite number of prints could be produced – in this instance, only 50.

     

    Deux femmes avec un vase à fleurs takes as its subject two anonymous nude women depicted in an interior. One figure stands in profile, holding a vase containing three flowers in one hand. The other woman reclines on a bed, surrounded by fabrics with swirling patterns that were painstakingly gouged out in linoleum by Picasso. Both women’s faces are depicted in profile, adding a flatness to the image, despite alternative perspectives of their bodies being presented. This depiction of space and depth relates to Picasso’s longstanding affiliation with Cubism, but also references his interest in antiquities. While working in linoleum with Arnéra, Picasso had also begun to produce ceramics at Madoura Pottery studio in Vallauris. Picasso’s interest in antiquities had been consistent since his early visits to the Louvre at the beginning of his career, and he frequently returned to mythology for artistic inspiration. In Deux femmes avec un vase à fleurs, the flatness achieved is not only reminiscent of other Cubist work but also references decorative elements on ancient Greek pottery, which similarly disregarded linear perspective and prioritised decorative motifs. Deux femmes avec un vase à fleurs is one of numerous examples in Picasso’s oeuvre where the artist fuses the vocabularies of modernism and antiquity to achieve new heights.

     

    Terracotta olpe (jug), circa. 520 BC. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Image: © The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Purchase, Frederick P. Huntley Bequest, 1959, 59.11.17
    • Provenance

      Galerie Boisserée, Cologne
      Halcyon Gallery, London
      Acquired from the above by the present owner in 2016

    • Literature

      Georges Bloch 915
      Brigitte Baer 1239

    • 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

9

Deux femmes avec un vase à fleurs (Two Women with a Vase of Flowers) (Bl. 915, Ba. 1239)

1959
Linocut in colours, on Arches paper, with full margins.
I. 53 x 63.7 cm (20 7/8 x 25 1/8 in.)
S. 61.9 x 75.1 cm (24 3/8 x 29 5/8 in.)

Signed in pencil, an unnumbered impression aside from the edition of 50 (there were also approximately 20 artist's proofs), published by Galerie Louise Leiris, Paris, 1960, framed.

Full Cataloguing

Estimate
£20,000 - 30,000 

Sold for £35,280

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Evening & Day Editions

London Auction 18 - 19 January 2023