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  • At a small monastery in northwestern France the avante-garde poet Pierre Reverdy died in 1960, and hardly anyone noticed. News of his passing only reached a handful of close friends, Pablo Picasso among them. Throughout Picasso’s ascendence to international acclaim he relied heavily upon his friendship with Reverdy, the trustworthy, literary recluse. Reverdy’s last poem, Sable mouvant (Quicksand) spun the tale of a desert sojourn’s hallucinations and personal realizations. In memoriam to its writer, Picasso agreed to illustrate this final poem with a series of aquatints. Turning to imagery of an artist and his muse, Picasso revealed his close kinship with the poet as well as a paradox: the artist, like the muse, is himself also a subject, as illustrated by this wonderfully personal tribute to an enduring friendship.

     

    The series of prints was made the same year Jean Leymarie curated and organized the large exhibition ‘Hommage á Picasso’, held at the Grand Palais and Petit Palais in Paris. Leymarie’s life’s work endevoured to impose 20th century artwork in French national collections. He was curator at the Museum of Grenoble from 1950-55; director of the Musee national d’art modern from 1968-73; and director of the French Academy in Rome from 1979-85. The present copy is dedicated ‘Exemplaire de Jean Leymarie’ and no doubt was printed in appreciation of the art historian’s commitment to his cause.

     

    French art historian Jean Leymarie (1919 - 2006) organises an exhibition of the works of Pablo Picasso in Paris, France, 21 November 1966. Image: Reg Lancaster/Express/Hulton Archive/Getty Images © Succession Picasso/DACS, London 2021
    • Condition Report

    • Literature

      Georges Bloch 1183-1192
      Brigitte Baer 1152-1161
      Patrick Cramer books 136

    • Catalogue Essay

      Including Sculpteur au travail; Peintre et modèle aux cheveux longs; Deux femmes au miroir; Peintre debout à son chevalet, avec un modèle, Sculpteur et sculpture; Peintre et modèle accoudé; Tête d'homme barbu. II; Nu accoudé; Sculpteur devant sa sellette, avec un specateur barbu; and Sculpteur

    • 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

186

Sable mouvant (Quicksand) (Bl. 1183-1192, Ba. 1152-1161, C. 136)

1966
The complete set of 10 aquatints, on Rives paper watermarked LB, with full margins, with title page, justification and text by Pierre Reverdy, the sheets loose and folded (as issued) all contained in the original parchment wrapper and linen-covered slipcase.
all I. 38.1 x 27.9 cm (15 x 11 in.)
all S. folded 48.3 x 38.1 cm (19 x 15 in.)
portfolio 51.1 x 41.6 x 7 cm (20 1/8 x 16 3/8 x 2 3/4 in.)

Signed in pencil and set in typeface 'Exemplaire de Jean Leymarie', aside from the book edition of 255 (there was also a deluxe edition of 10 in Roman numerals, 50 in Arabic numerals and 20 in Roman numerals on Japanese paper), published by Louis Broder, Paris, all unframed.

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Sold for £7,560

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Evening & Day Editions

London Auction 14 - 15 June 2021