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Des, verre, bouteille de bass, carte a jouer et carte de visite
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About the item

Of all the manifestations of Picasso’s art throughout his long career, his Cubist compositions are among his most inventive and aesthetically original.  Picasso, along with Georges Braque, pioneered this artistic movement and introduced the avant-garde to new levels of pictorial abstraction. Still-lifes were usually the favored subjects of these depictions, and never before had this age-old theme been interpreted with such a radical approach.   Picasso experimented with the deconstruction and reconstruction of form and the manipulation of space in these compositions, exposing the physical properties of the objects he was depicting.  Dés, verre, bouteille de Bass, carte à jouer et carte de visite, executed in 1914, is a wonderful rendition of this theme.  In this picture, Picasso presents the objects on the table as they would appear from several different vantage points, providing a spectacle that would not otherwise be possible in a two-dimensional representation.    Over the course of the 1910s, Picasso’s Cubism developed from fractured, highly abstract “analytical” depictions of form to more legible “synthetic” compositions that incorporated elements of collage.  Dés, verre, bouteille de Bass, carte à jouer et carte de visite exemplifies the tenets of this later phase of Cubism.  Picasso’s colleague, Juan Gris, once gave the following explanation: “I work with elements of the intellect, with the imagination.  I try to make concrete that which is abstract, I proceed from the general to the particular….Cézanne turns a bottle into a cylinder…I make a bottle – a particular bottle – out of a cylinder” (quoted in Jean Sutherland Boggs, Picasso and Things (exhibition catalogue), The Cleveland Museum of Art; The Philadephia Museum of Art; Galeries Nationales du Grand Palais, Paris, 1992, p. 132).\nPicasso inscribed the back of this picture with the location ‘Ceret,’ perhaps indicating that he began it when he was living there in 1913.  Zervos and successive scholars claim, though, that he completed this work in Paris in 1914, probably in the Spring before leaving for Avignon with his fiancée, Eva, in mid-June.  This dating is more plausible.  Several of Picasso’s compositions from this time feature the bottle of Bass, the playing cards, and the dice incorporated onto the canvas with papier collé (see figs. 1-4).   He would continue working with this motif that summer, adding bolder colors to his compositions, but the earth-toned pictures that he completed in Paris are among the most exemplary of his Cubist aesthetic.  More so than those from Avignon, these Parisian compositions focus on the interplay of word and image and the artist’s literal translation of the objects in his compositions.  This technique was one of the defining features of “Synthetic” Cubism, which attempted, as Gris once wrote, “to make concrete that which is abstract.”  Picasso could have not been more concrete or more legible in his execution than when he made his compositions speak with words.   The present work demonstrates the efficacy of this technique. Despite the abstraction of the bottle and the manipulation of space, the letters “BAS” link the composition to reality and remind the viewer what is being depicted.   Particularly striking in this work is Picasso’s use of his own signature as a narrative device within the composition.  Using stenciled letters to spell out his name on the dog-eared carte-de-visite, he places himself directly in the picture and transforms this work into his own calling card.\nRobert Rosenblum has provided the following analysis of the signature in the present work:  “The idea of a signature that could mimic styles of writing other than the artist’s own appealed particularly to Picasso.  Even before 1900, first as a child and then as a prodigious young artist in Madrid and Barcelona, Picasso made endlessly imaginative and abundant doodles in which he experimented with all manner of monogram and signature, ranging from lettering styles that echoed the inventive new shapes of Art Nouveau typography to those that mimicked the traditional elegance of cursive script.  In the Cubist years, this precocious diversity was received and expanded, not only by signatures in the form of a name plate, but also by signatures in the form of a calling card.  In one example, a still life of c. 1914 [the present work], a paper plane with a dog-eared upper right-hand corner has the artist’s name stenciled upon it, continuing in the realm of signatures Picasso’s earlier use of stenciled letters to suggest the more impersonal realm of posters and newspapers.  Here, the artist’s traditional handwritten flourish is transposed to stenciled lettering that seems to be stamped upon a calling card, which is then dropped upon the table with the other still life objects.  That the card is dog-eared suggests, according to traditional rules of etiquette, that the owner of the card has paid a personal visit, but found no one at home” (Robert Rosenblum, “Picasso and the Typography of Cubism,” in Roland Penrose, op. cit., p. 68).\n\nFig. 1, Pablo Picasso, Bouteille de Bass, verre, pacquet de tabac, et carte-de-visite, Paris, 1914, pasted paper and pencil, Musée National d’Art Moderne, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris\nFig. 2, Pablo Picasso, Pipe, verre, as de trèfle, bouteille de Bass, guitare, et dés, Paris, 1914, oil on canvas, Heinz Berggruen, Geneva\nFig. 3, Pablo Picaso, Nature morte avec violon et verre de Bass, Paris, 1913-14, oil on canvas, Musée National d'Art Moderne, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, Gift of Raoul La Roche\nFig. 4, Pablo Picasso, Verre, as de trèfle, paquet de tabac, Paris, 1914, oil on paper and cigarette packet stuck onto Arches paper, pastel and pencil, Musée Picasso, Paris\nSigned PICASSO (lower right); signed and inscribed Picasso Céret on the reverse
US
NY, US
US

medium

Oil on canvas

creator

Pablo Picasso

dimensions

13 by 9 5/8 in.

exhibition

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Museum of Art, The Collection of Earl Horter,1934 Chicago, The Arts Club, Modern Paintings from the Collection of Earl Horter, 1934, no. 52 Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia Collects 20th Century, 1963 Philadelphia Museum of Art, Mad for Modernism: Earl Horter and His Collection, 1999

literature

Christian Zervos, Pablo Picasso, Paris, 1942, vol. II**, no. 789, illustrated pl. 345 Frank Elgar and Robert Maillard, Picasso, New York, 1972, illustrated p. 198 Roland Penrose, Picasso in Retrospect, New York, 1973, no. 115, illustrated p. 68 Winthrop Judkins, Fluctuant Representation in Synthetic Cubism, New York, 1976, illustrated p. 405 Pierre Daix and Joan Rosselet, Picasso, The Cubist Years 1907-1916, Boston and New York, 1979, no. 707, illustrated p. 324

provenance

Galerie Kahnweiler, Paris (acquired from the artist) Earl Horter, Philadelphia (by 1929-30) Elizabeth Lentz Keim (later Elizabeth Horter), South Langhorne (acquired from the above on June 25, 1936) Acquired from the above

signedDate

Signed PICASSO (lower right); signed and inscribed Picasso Céret on the reverse

time_period

Painted in 1914.

consignmentDesignation

Property from the Collection of Hester Diamond

creator_nationality_dates

1881-1973


*Note: The price is not recalculated to the current value. It refers to the actual final price at the time the item was sold.

*Note: The price is not recalculated to the current value. It refers to the actual final price at the time the item was sold.


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