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L'Aubade
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L'Aubade
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L'Aubade

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About the item

Like most of Picasso’s late paintings, L’Aubade has its origin in the subject of a painter and his model.  In a series of large canvases, Picasso developed a number of variations on this theme, always characterized by a great spontaneity in brushwork and coloration, and an extraordinary creative energy.  Never tiring of exploring visual means of depicting erotic tension,  Picasso’s men and women are seen in various costumes and performing various activities.  In the present work, the painter has been transformed into a flute player; the flute has replaced the paintbrush and music has replaced painting.  Although with these new attributes, Picasso’s protagonists are involved in the same game of seduction in which the instrument of their art – musician’s flute or painter’s brush – serves as witty symbols of erotic tension between them. \nL’Aubade is from a series of oils completed during the first half 1967 (see figs. 1 and 2) that depict a flutist rhapsodically playing his instrument for his lover.  The image calls to mind images of the mythical god Pan and other depictions of the bacchanalia that Picasso completed earlier in 1967.  But here, Picasso has personalized the figures to a greater extent.  At the time he completed the present work, Picasso was in his late 80s.   It is believed that these pictures, featuring a virulent, playful and often flirtatious male figure, were meant to embody the artist’s lost youth and vigor.   This depiction, as well as the others like it that Picasso completed around this time, were understood to be disguised portraits of the artist himself and his wife, Jacqueline (see fig. 3).  The identity of the couple here is much more decipherable than in many of the other works of this period, with Jacqueline’s characteristic almond eyes and black hair tied up in a knot at the top of head and Picasso’s unmistakable bald, bulbous head and strong profile.\nGert Schiff has written about the significance of these pictures, observing how they offer an escape from the struggles of everyday life in a manner similar to Gauguin’s pictures of his Tahitian paradise: “Here the old artist revives one last time that dream which Paul Gauguin had impressed so forcibly upon his generation: the flight from civilization.  To think there are whole peoples who lie in the sand and pipe upon bamboo canes!  To think that it should be possible to rid oneself of all norms and necessities of modern life, of the curse of individuality – to live a life without memory, hence without death; to come into being and disintegrate like a plant and to span the interim safely embedded in the mythical collective of a primitive society.  Could it be that the brain itself is the result of a faulty development?  This question seems to lurk behind those large paintings like Nude Man and Woman and The Aubade  in which Picasso transforms his bucolic figures into budding primeval giants” (Gert Schiff, Picasso, the last years, 1963-1973 (exhibition catalogue), The Grey Art Gallery, New York University, New York, 1983).\nThe present work is also reminiscent of Picasso’s reinterpretations Manet’s Le Dejeuner sur l’Herbe from the 1960s.  Manet’s famous portrait of a nude women seated on the grass and surrounded by clothed male companions had fascinated Picasso for most of his life.  The figure of the nude in Picasso’s rendition of this theme (see fig. 4) is strikingly similar in her pose to the nude figure in Manet's composition.  Setting this scene in nature, with the blue sky and earth-toned patches that represent soil and grass, Picasso creates a paradise filled with music, love and earthly delights evocative of the garden of Eden.\n\nFig. 1, Pablo Picasso, Nu assis et joueur de flute, oil on canvas, April 13, 1967, sold: Sotheby’s, London, February 3, 2004\nFig. 2, Pablo Picasso, L’Aubade, oil on plywood, June 18, 1967, Galerie Rosengart, Lucerne\nFig. 3, Photograph of the artist and Jacqueline, circa 1960\nFig. 4, Pablo Picasso, Le Déjeuner sur l’herbe, after Manet, oil on cavas, July 30, 1961, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Humblebaek\nDated 16.6.1967 on the reverse
US
NY, US
US

medium

Oil on canvas

creator

Pablo Picasso

dimensions

51 ¼ in. by 76 3/4 in.

exhibition

London, Waddington Galleries, Picasso, 1981, no. 9 London, Waddington Galleries, Groups VII, 1984, no. 103 Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia Collects Art Since 1940, 1986 Collegeville, Ursinus College, Philip and Muriel Berman Museum of Art, A Passion for Art: Selections from the Berman Collection, 1989 Kunsthalle Bielefeld, Picasso – letzte Bilder, Werke 1966-1972, 1993-94, no. 2

literature

Christian Zervos, Pablo Picasso, oeuvres de 1967 et 1968, vol. 27, Paris, 1973, no. 26, illustrated pl. 8 The Picasso Project, Picasso, Paintings, Watercolors, Drawings and Sculpture, The Sixties II, San Francisco, 2002, no. 67-241, illustrated p. 355

provenance

Daniel Malingue, Paris Waddington Galleries, London (acquired from the above) Acquired from the above on August 14, 1984

signedDate

Dated 16.6.1967 on the reverse

consignmentDesignation

The Philip and Muriel Berman 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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