Pablo Picasso - Evening & Day Editions London Wednesday, June 7, 2023 | Phillips

Create your first list.

Select an existing list or create a new list to share and manage lots you follow.

  • “Pablo loved to surround himself with birds and animals. In general, they were exempt from the suspicion with which he regarded his other friends.”
    Françoise Gilot

    With solid black lines and simplified forms, Pablo Picasso’s artistic mastery comes to life in his depictions of animals. Picasso’s life, like his art, was filled with creatures great and small, from indoor house-trained goats to a mouse he kept in a drawer. Influenced by his father’s pigeon breeding, Picasso’s lifelong appreciation for the natural world was ignited when he started to paint pigeons as a child. While often infused with symbolism, and used in his works as political messengers, Picasso’s menagerie is as much a representation of his wit, as his ideology.


    Lucien Clergue, Picasso Discovering a Toad, 1968, Los Angeles Museum of Art. Image: Museum Associates/LACMA/Art Resource NY/Scala, Florence, Artwork: © Lucien Clergue / DACS, London 2023

    At first glance, Picasso’s Le crapaud is a reduction in forms of the tailless toad to a combination of outlined shapes. Yet, this simplification is counterbalanced with a variety of tonal changes indicating the amphibian’s flesh. With varying textural applications, the artist conveys the enigma of the toad’s skin – that which is never touched and lives in a sensory ambiguity. With flattened and elongated feet and toes, the toad is suctioned to his base, bracing himself to leap forth from the page. These details, often overlooked, highlight Picasso’s fine-tuned creative insight, and ability to depict the essence of a character with only ink and paper.  

    • Provenance

      Alan Cristea Gallery, London
      Acquired directly from the above by the present owner, circa 2000

    • Literature

      Georges Bloch 585
      Fernand Mourlot 144
      Felix Reuße 448

    • 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 Distinguished Private Collection


Le crapaud (The Toad) (Bl. 585, M. 144, R. 448)

Lithograph, on Arches paper, the full sheet.
S. 50 x 65.2 cm (19 5/8 x 25 5/8 in.)
Signed and numbered 31/50 in red pencil (there were also 5 artist's proofs), printed by Fernand Mourlot, Paris, framed.

Full Cataloguing

£12,000 - 18,000 

Sold for £15,240

Contact Specialist
+44 20 7318 4091

Rebecca Tooby-Desmond
Specialist, Head of Sale, Editions

Robert Kennan
Head of Editions, Europe

Anne Schneider-Wilson
Senior International Specialist, Editions

Louisa Earl
Associate Specialist, Editions

Evening & Day Editions

London Auction 7 - 8 June 2023