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Femme nue assise dans un fauteuil
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In the early days of January 1965, Picasso executed a series of large canvases on the theme of a seated female nude, that culminated in Femme nue assise dans un fauteuil, the most monumental of the group.  Painted in quick succession, these works bear witness to the extraordinary energy and creative urge that characterized Picasso’s late years.  Having gone through many phases of stylistic and technical experimentation, by this time Picasso had acquired a confidence and freedom that enabled him to paint monumental works in quick, spontaneous brush-strokes.  Rather than ponder over the details of human anatomy and perspective, the artist was able to isolate those elements of his subject that fascinated and preoccupied him, namely the symbols of erotic desire and threat embodied in the female nude.   The motif of a nude figure seated in an armchair occurred repeatedly throughout Picasso’s career.  Whilst varying in style and depicting different women that marked each period of the artist’s life, these nudes always served as a vehicle of expressing the palpable sexual tension between the painter and his model.  From soft, voluptuous curves of Marie-Thérèse Walter (see fig. 1), to the fragmented, near-abstract nudes of his surrealist works (see fig. 2), and the geometrical rendering of his later years (see fig. 3), Picasso’s seated nudes have a monumental, sculptural presence, and are invariably depicted with a powerful sense of psychological drama stemming from the tension between the invisible artist and his sitter.  Although the figure of the painter is not portrayed within the composition, his persona is very much present in this work.  Picasso’s concerns regarding the act of painting and the role of the artist, explored in the series of works on the theme of artist and model, carried onto his series of seated nudes, including Femme nue assise dans un fauteuil.  The monumental nude, looming large on her throne like a pagan goddess, is not isolated in her own world.  Her significance is in her relationship with her creator at the same time as with the viewer – a tantalizing relationship of attraction and menace.\n\nIn his discussion of Picasso’s late works, David Sylvester links them to his early masterpiece, Demoiselles d’Avignon, both distinguished by the ‘raw vitality’ which they have as their central underlying theme:  “The resemblance of figures in the Demoiselles and in late Picasso to masked tribal dancers is as crucial as their scale in giving them a threatening force.  It is irrelevant whether or not particular faces or bodies are based on particular tribal models: what matters is the air these personages have of coming from a world more primitive, possibly more cannibalistic and certainly more elemental than ours.  Despite the rich assortment of allusions to paintings in the Renaissance tradition, the treatment of space rejects that tradition in favour of an earlier one, the flat unperspectival space of, say, medieval Catalan frescoes…  At twenty five, Picasso’s raw vitality was already being enriched by the beginnings of an encyclopaedic awareness of art; at ninety, his encyclopaedic awareness of art was still being enlivened by a raw vitality” (David Sylvester, Late Picasso, Paintings, Sculpture, Drawings, Prints 1953-1972, Tate Gallery, London, 1988, p. 144).\n\nIn various periods of his work, Picasso’s art was closely related to his personal life, and the women depicted in his paintings were always influenced by Picasso’s female companions at the time.  In Femme nue assise dans un fauteuil, the female figure is inspired by Jacqueline, the last love of his life, whom Picasso married in 1961, and although she is not a direct likeness of Jacqueline, with her large eyes and sharp profile, she bears the features with which Picasso usually portrayed his last muse (see fig. 4).  The essence of Jacqueline, who never posed as his model, is always present in his portraits of the period. As demonstrated in the present work, Picasso often depicted Jacqueline in ‘double-profile’, a stylistic device invented in his portraits of Dora Maar, but the roots of which go back to his cubist experiments with multiple view-points. Whilst borrowing elements from his own artistic past, Picasso here created an image with a force and freedom he only achieved in his last years.\n\nFig. 1, Pablo Picasso, Femme nue dans un fauteuil rouge, 1932, oil on canvas, Tate Modern, London\nFig. 2, Pablo Picasso, Femme assise dans un fauteuil rouge, 1932, oil on canvas, Musée Picasso, Paris\nFig. 3, Pablo Picasso, Femme nue à la chaise bascule, 1956, oil on canvas, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney\nFig. 4, Pablo Picasso, Jacqueline assise avec son chat, 1964, oil on canvas, Estate of  Jacqueline Picasso       \nSigned Picasso (upper right); dated 7.1.65/8 on the reverse
US
NY, US
US

medium

Oil on canvas

creator

Pablo Picasso

dimensions

51 1/4 by 38 1/8 in.

exhibition

Lausanne, FAE Musée d'Art Contemporain, Picasso contemporain, 1994, no. 75

literature

Christian Zervos, Pablo Picasso, oeuvres de 1965 à 1967, vol. 25, Paris, 1972, no. 8, illustrated pl. 5 The Picasso Project, Picasso's Paintings, Watercolors, Drawings and Sculpture. The Sixties II, 1964-1967, San Francisco, 2002, no. 65-008, illustrated p. 137

provenance

Galerie Louise Leiris, Paris

signedDate

Signed Picasso (upper right); dated 7.1.65/8 on the reverse

time_period

Painted on January 7-8, 1965.

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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