Pablo Picasso - Evening & Day Editions London Thursday, September 21, 2023 | Phillips
  • “To draw you must close your eyes and sing.”
    —Pablo Picasso

    Inspired by the legendary beings of Roman mythology, Faunes et chèvre is a testament to Picasso’s extensive research into the themes of classical art, which began in 1917 when he travelled to Italy with his friend, the poet Jean Cocteau. Executed in 1959, the present lot depicts two dancing fauns – mythological creatures that are part-human and part-goat – playing a tune with their musical instruments. Named after Faunus, the Greek god of forests and shepherds, fauns were deemed to be skilled instrumentalists who enjoyed dancing and playing the flute. In this sense, the present lot is emblematic of Picasso’s interest in both antiquity and dance, which continued to be a subject he returned to throughout his oeuvre. In the 1890s, Picasso depicted the Parisian Cancan dancers of his early bohemian days and, from 1917-25, he designed sets and costumes for Serge Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes. Additionally, in August 1944, during the euphoria of the Liberation in France, Picasso recreated Nicolas Poussin’s The Triumph of Pan (1636) in his Cubist style. The present lot bares resemblance to Poussin’s monumental painting A Dance to the Music of Time (1634-36); both works depict an Elysian landscape with dramatic clouds, under which a group of mythological creatures joyfully dance to a melody played by the musician in the lower right-hand corner.


    Nicolas Poussin, A Dance to the Music of Time, 1634-36, Wallace Collection, London. Image: © Wallace Collection, London, UK / Bridgeman Images

    Characterised by bold colours and defined outlines, Faunes et chèvre is an outstanding example of Picasso’s involvement with the linocut process and it attests to the artist’s unique mastery and manipulation of this graphic printmaking method. He was fascinated by the immediacy of the process – the ability to carve a sheet of linoleum and have a print soon after. Ever the innovator, Picasso invented a new ‘reduction’ technique. Instead of carving a block of linoleum for each colour of a design, the artist used one block for the total image, progressively cutting and reducing the same piece of linoleum for each colour he desired to print. He started with the lightest colours and finished with the darkest, imbuing each print with depth, texture, and fluidity. Representative of the artist’s remarkable technical innovation with linocut, Faunes et chèvre epitomises Picasso's mature artistic experimentation as well as his continuous investigations of dance, classical art and mythology.

    • Provenance

      Private Collection, Toronto

    • Literature

      Georges Bloch 934
      Brigitte Baer 1263

    • 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


Faunes et chèvre (Fauns and Goat) (Bl. 934, Ba. 1263)

Linocut in colours, on Arches paper, with full margins.
I. 52.7 x 63.5 cm (20 3/4 x 25 in.)
S. 62.0 x 74.3 cm (24 3/8 x 29 1/4 in.)

Signed and numbered 43/50 in pencil (there were also approximately 20 artist's proofs), published by Galerie Louise Leiris, Paris, 1960, framed.

Full Cataloguing

£30,000 - 50,000 ‡♠

Sold for £82,550

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Evening & Day Editions

London Auction 21 - 22 September 2023