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Jeune fille accoudée
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About the item

Executed in 1903-04, at the pinnacle of Picasso’s celebrated Blue period, Jeune fille accoudée is an iconic image from the artist’s early work, a portrait imbued with a sense of the fragility and melancholy that were to become synonymous with this phase of Picasso’s career. Depicting a seated young woman, her head supported by her hand, this portrait beautifully combines seminal characteristics of Picasso’s Blue period. Executed in blue crayon, the girl is looking into the distance, beyond the viewer. Rather than concentrating on a particular scene in front of her, she presents an image of meditation and introspection, deeply enveloped in her own thoughts. Like Picasso’s Femme au casque de cheveux of 1904 (fig. 1), the woman’s pose, hair style and her distant gaze create a quintessential Blue period image of melancholy, poverty and existential symbolism.\n\nCombining intimacy and fragility, Picasso rendered the sitter with an air of elegance and poise, particularly concentrating on her head and neck. Her narrow shoulders, elongated neck and long, refined facial features, accentuated by her hair, are depicted with a mannerism associated with the Blue period. In these years, Picasso was dividing his time between Paris and Barcelona, and during his stays in his native Spain was certainly influenced by the Mannerist paintings of El Greco, whose equally elongated, stylised figures played an important role in the development of Picasso’s work at the time.\n\nThe earliest works of Picasso’s Blue period were triggered by the suicide of his close friend Carlos Casagemas in 1901. The melancholy that engulfed Picasso after this tragic event was further nourished by the occasional feelings of insecurity and loneliness that accompanied the young émigré during his first years in Paris. At this time of relative poverty, Picasso identified himself with the bohemian citizens of the capital, a group that included social outcasts such as beggars, madmen and prostitutes, as well as marginalised members of the bourgeoisie – many of them artists and writers - who distinguished themselves by their contempt for conventionalism and authority. By representing friends from his own social circle, as well as anonymous street musicians, beggars and absinthe drinkers he encountered in the streets and cafés of Paris, Picasso created his own image as a member of this bohemian milieu. Indeed, with its intimate, introspective quality, Jeune fille accoudée is a reflection of the artist’s own mental and emotional state, executed with the purity and timelessness characteristic of Picasso’s most accomplished works.\n\nFig. 1, Pablo Picasso, Femme au casque de cheveux, 1904, oil on canvas, The Art Institute, Chicago\nSigned Picasso (lower left)
GB
GB
GB

medium

Blue crayon on paper

creator

Pablo Picasso

dimensions

36.5 by 26.5cm.

literature

Maurice Raynal, Picasso, Munich, 1921, illustrated (titled Tête de femme and as dating from 1901) Christian Zervos, Pablo Picasso. Supplément aux volumes 1 à 5, Paris, 1954, vol. 6, no. 558, illustrated pl. 68

provenance

Baroness Batsheva de Rothschild (sale: Christie's, London, 6th February 2001, lot 17) Purchased at the above sale by the present owner

signedDate

Signed Picasso (lower left)

time_period

Drawn in 1903-04.

consignmentDesignation

Property from a European Private 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.


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