Search for over 80 million sold items in our price database

Homme assis au casque et à l'épée
Sold

About the item

The monumental Homme assis au casque et à l'épée is a powerful example of a theme that was central to Picasso in the last years of his life. The work was painted in Picassos most prolific year, 1969, during which he seemed to not at all be effected by his advanced age but rather invigorated that he had more and more to paint. These works were exhibited in a dedicated show the following year in 1970, organized by Christian Zervos, which opened at the Palais des Papes in Avignon. This exhibition was one of two major exhibitions devoted to this time in the artists career and was the only one held during his lifetime. The large canvases were displayed one on top of another in the hall of Clement IV, taking full advantage of the Gothic venue's high vaulted ceilings.Hélène Parmelin wrote at length about Picassos paintings of 1969, many of which she saw under production at the artists studio at Notre-Dame de Vie: During Picassos last years marked by his Avignon paintings he often spoke of the obscure direction that his research has taken, a movement closer and closer to reality.  The canvas becomes so true that, he says, "one can no longer see the difference between it and reality. It is natural" (H. Parmelin, "Picasso on his Little Terrace" in Picasso Mosqueteros (exhibition catalogue), Gagosian Gallery, New York, 2009 p. 288). Picassos objective to paint nature is in direct opposite to the abstraction and minimalism which were becoming the mainstream for other artists during this same period. For Picasso, the musketeer signified the golden age of painting, and allowed him to escape the limitations of contemporary subject matter and explore the spirit of a past age. Here was a character who embodied the courtly mannerisms of the Renaissance gentleman, and Picasso's rendering of this image was also his tribute to the work of two painters he had adored throughout his life - Velazquez and Rembrandt. Picasso had devoted a large portion of his production throughout the 1960s to the reinterpretation of the old masters, an experience in which he reaffirmed his connection to some of the greatest painters in the history of art. The musketeer series was a continuation of this interest and began, according to his wife Jacqueline Roque, "when Picasso started to study Rembrandt," but his appreciation of other great figures of the Renaissance also influenced the appearance of these characters.\nTowards the end of his life, the image of the musketeer evoked Picassos Spanish heritage and his nostalgia for the youthful vigor of his early years. As Marie-Laure Bernadac observes: If woman was depicted in all her aspects in Picassos art, man always appeared in disguise or in a specific role, painter at work or a musketeer. In 1966, a new and final character emerged in Picassos iconography and dominated his last period to the point of becoming its emblem. This was the Golden Age gentleman, a half Spanish, half Dutch musketeer dressed in richly adorned clothing complete with ruffs, a cape, boots and a big plumed hatPicasso seldom depicted himself directly, choosing instead to have thematic characters personify him. For Picasso man was no longer a godlike sculptor at the height of his maturity, nor was he the monstrous Minotaur, symbol of duality; he was a fictitious character, a carnival puppet whose identity and truth lay in masks and signs. Malraux accurately compared these figures to the flat and emblematic personages of the tarot. It was not without humor that Picasso created these characters, whose amorous adventures he chronicled in his etchings. Imagine painting musketeers in 1970! They were ornamental figures whose clothes were a pretext both for the blaze of blood red and golden yellow and for the resurgence of a newly found Spanishness" (B. Léal, C. Piot & M.L. Bernadac, The Ultimate Picasso, New York, 2000, pp. 457-58).\nThe iconography of the musketeer was indicative of Picasso's self-awareness in the years before his death. Gone from his paintings were the veiled references to the artist as the victorious gladiator or centaur, as these characters did not reflect the artist's failing stamina and lost youth. The vainglorious musketeer was believed to be a more appropriate incarnation, offering a spectrum of interpretations that occupied the artist until the end of his life.\nPicasso's work on this theme began in the mid-1960s with a series of engravings and works on paper that explored this figure and, later, a variety of canvases of the musketeer, festooned in colorful regalia and brandishing a symbol of his virility - a pipe, instrument, weapon, or even a paintbrush. For the present composition, Picasso has rendered his musketeer as a pipe smoker holding his sword and helmet.\nAs Picasso developed this series during the late 1960s and into the 1970s, the musketeer became a multi-dimensional figure, exhibiting a range of personalities including card players, musicians and pipe smokers, illustrating his adventures as a bon vivant. In the work under discussion, completed in 1969 and only a few years before the artist's death, the musketeer has become an amalgamation of defining symbols. Unlike earlier versions of this subject in which the artist is careful to render the likeness of the figure through costume and presentation, the present work is identifiable as part of the musketeer series only by particular attributes. Nevertheless, the figure is unquestionably a man of stature, depicted here in the dignified manner of classical portraiture.\nSigned Picasso (upper right); dated 11.6.69. (on the reverse)
US
NY, US
US

medium

Oil on canvas

creator

Picasso, Pablo

dimensions

57 1/2 by 44 3/4 in.

exhibition

Avignon, Palais des Papes, Pablo Picasso 1969-1970, 1970, no. 36, illustrated in color in the catalogue

literature

Christian Zervos, Pablo Picasso, Paris, 1976, vol. XXXI, no. 244, illustrated pl. 72 Rafael Alberti, Picasso en Avignon. Commentaires à une peinture en mouvement, Paris, 1971, no. 203, illustrated in color n.p. Rafael Alberti, A Year of Picasso Paintings: 1969, New York, 1971, no. 203, illustrated in color n.p.

provenance

Lola Ruiz Picasso, Barcelona Private Collection, France (and sold: Sotheby’s, New York, November 14, 1984, lot 81) Private Collection, United States (acquired at the above sale) Acquired in the late 1980s

signedDate

Signed Picasso (upper right); dated 11.6.69. (on the reverse)

time_period

Painted on June 11, 1969.

time_range_end

1969

artist_range_end

1973

time_range_start

1969

artist_range_start

1881

consignmentDesignation

Property from a Very Important Private Swiss Collection

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.


Advert
Advert

Sold items

L'HOMME QUI MARCHE I
Sold

L'HOMME QUI MARCHE I

Realized Price
104,327,006 USD

Nu assis sur un divan (La Belle Romaine)
Sold

Nu assis sur un divan (La Belle Romaine)

Realized Price
68,962,500 USD

Femme assise
Sold

Femme assise

Realized Price
62,653,512 USD

Femme assise près d'une fenêtre
Sold

Femme assise près d'une fenêtre

Realized Price
45,332,981 USD

Femme assise, robe bleue
Sold

Femme assise, robe bleue

Realized Price
45,047,500 USD

Femme assise dans un fauteuil
Sold

Femme assise dans un fauteuil

Realized Price
30,487,500 USD

Femme assise, robe bleue
Sold

Femme assise, robe bleue

Realized Price
29,564,218 USD

Femme assise dans un fauteuil
Sold

Femme assise dans un fauteuil

Realized Price
29,202,500 USD

L'homme est en mer
Sold

L'homme est en mer

Realized Price
27,737,948 USD

Homme à l’épée
Sold

Homme à l’épée

Realized Price
22,565,000 USD

Femme assise sur une chaise
Sold

Femme assise sur une chaise

Realized Price
20,074,000 USD