Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Sotheby’s Impressionist & Modern Art Evening Sale in London on 19 June 2018

 Pablo Picasso, Buste de femme de profil. Femme écrivant, signed Picasso (upper left), oil on canvas, 116.2 by 73.7cm., 45¾ by 29in. Painted in April 1932. Estimate upon request. Courtesy Sotheby’s.

 Painted during  Pablo  Picasso’s ‘year of wonders’, this monumental , yet  remarkably tender and intimate , painting o f Marie -Thérèse absorbed in the act of writing evoke s  a private moment from the artist’s clandestine relationship with his  most beloved muse. Awake  or asleep, writing or reading, Marie -Thérèse appears in manifold guises  throughout Picasso’s  oeuvre . In this painting , Picasso focu ses on her innocence and youthfulness, depicting her  serenely penning her thoughts. 

Appearing at auction for the first time in over two decades ,  Buste  de femme de profil. Femme écrivant will highlight Sotheby’s Impressionist & Modern Art Evening  Sale in London on 19 June 2018.  

 In this painting, Marie -Thérèse’s unmistakeable profile and sweep of blonde hair are silhouetted  in front of a window at the Château de Boisgeloup, the grand house outside of Paris acquired by  Picasso in 1930. Her sensual curves are echoed by the diffused green light emanating fr om the  gardens beyond the window – the deliberate juxtaposition of the horizontals and verticals of the  window frame with the soft curves of her body masterfully emphasising her form. The palette is  characteristic of Picasso’s key depictions of Marie -Thérèse during this year. The composition  recalls both his celebrated Cubist paintings and the series of monumental sculpted heads that he  created in 1931, again inspired by Marie -Thérèse . It is the intensity and passion of the paintings  from 1932 that mark them out as unique amongst the artist’s work.   

Marie -Thérèse Walter entered Picasso’s life one day in January 1927, capturing his attention at  first sight on the streets of Paris at a time when his turbulent relationship with his wife Olga was  floundering. An intensely  passionate  – and creatively inspiring – relationship,  this chance meeting  with  Marie -Thérèse  galvanised his life and art . She quickly became a source of creative inspiration  and veiled references to her appear in his art from that point on. However, it was only five years  later in 1932 – following a landmark exhibition at Galerie Georges Petit , Paris – that the artist  announced  Marie -Thérèse as an extraordinary presence in his life and art through his paintings.  

 Picasso almost never painted his muses from life, his depictions being inspired by the memory of  them and the metamorphic power of his erotic imagination. With Marie -Thérèse  in particular,  the artist’s inspiration reached fever pitch in the long periods they were forced to spend apart.  Here, he evokes her in a quietly contemplative mood – perhaps  picturing her  lover  as she writes .  

EXHIBITION DATES New York 4 – 16 May Hong Kong 25  – 31 May  London  14  – 19 June