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Le peintre
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Le peintre
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Le peintre

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About the item

Le Peintre, painted in 1967, is a remarkable example of Picasso’s mature style, brimming with painterly verve and stylish invention. The artist’s astonishing capacity for manipulating paint is wonderfully present in Le Peintre. Lustrous passages of colour cover the canvas endowing the figure with a startlingly vivid presence. Throughout his œuvre, Picasso’s images of the male figure embody masculine power, and are rendered with intensity which conveys the bravura of the artist himself. Having gone through so many phases of stylistic and technical experimentation, Picasso now pared down his style in order to paint monumental oils in quick, spontaneous brushstrokes.\n\nThe present work belongs to a major series of paintings that Picasso executed in 1967 on the theme of the musketeer, which became one of the key subjects of his late œuvre. In Le Peintre, the figure of the musketeer is seen in the role of the artist in front of his easel, indicating the persona of the musketeer as a disguised portrait of Picasso himself. The image of the musketeer allowed Picasso to escape the limitations of contemporary subject matter and explore the spirit of a past age, reflecting the influence of Rembrandt, Velázquez and El Greco (fig. 1) on Picasso's art.  The iconography of the artist at his easel is indicative of the artist's self-awareness in his mature years, and the present image brings together an evocation of Picasso's Spanish heritage with his role as a painter. As Marie-Laure Bernadac has observed: 'If woman was depicted in all her aspects in Picasso's art, man always appeared in disguise or in a specific role, the painter at work or the musketeer. In 1966, a new and final character emerged in Picasso's 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 hat... All of these musketeers are men in disguise, romantic gentlemen, virile and arrogant soldiers, vainglorious and ridiculous despite their haughtiness. Dressed, armed, and helmeted, this man is always seen in action; sometimes the musketeer even takes up a brush and becomes the painter' (M.-L. Bernadac in Brigitte Léal, Christine Piot & Marie-Laure Bernadac, The Ultimate Picasso, New York, 2000, p. 455). His fascination with this new figure manifested itself in many ways, from painterly homages to his predecessors to Picasso himself assuming the mantle of the meta-painter ‘Domenico Theotocopulos van Rijn da Silva’, an amalgam of El Greco, Rembrandt and Velázquez and even subsequently signed a painting with this pseudonym.\nLe Peintre is a dynamic painting which reflects the complexity of Picasso's sentiments regarding his role as an artist. In the 1960s and early 1970s, the subject of a painter and his model (fig. 4) accounted for a large part of his creative output. In the present work, however, he eliminated the female model and focused entirely on the artist and the process of painting itself. Picasso made no attempt here to create a spatial portrait. Rather, his flat layers of paint give the figure's face a mask-like quality, exaggerating the features that show him in both his roles as a painter and a musketeer. The attributes of the figure are divided on the canvas: the left half is dedicated to the painter's paraphernalia including the palette, the brushes and the easel, while the right-hand side shows the attributes of the musketeer - the characteristic hair, moustache, beard and collar. The energy and complexity which result from this synthesis reflect the passion Picasso maintained into his later years.\nSigned Picasso (upper right); dated 22. 23. 24. 25. 26. 27. 3. 67. on the reverse
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medium

Oil on canvas

creator

Pablo Picasso

condition

The canvas is unlined and there is no evidence of retouching under ultra-violet light. This work is in very good original condition. Colours: Overall fairly accurate in the printed catalogue illustration. "In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective, qualified opinion. Prospective buyers should also refer to any Important Notices regarding this sale, which are printed in the Sale Catalogue. NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF BUSINESS PRINTED IN THE SALE CATALOGUE."

dimensions

81 by 100cm.

literature

Christian Zervos, Pablo Picasso. Œuvres de 1965 à 1967, Paris, 1972, vol. 25, no. 308, illustrated pl. 135 Sir Roland Penrose & John Golding (ed.), Picasso, London, 1973, no. 425, illustrated p. 261 (titled Seventeenth-Century Painter) The Picasso Project, Picasso's Paintings, Watercolors, Drawings and Sculpture. The Sixties II, 1964-1967, San Francisco, 2002, no. 67-133, illustrated p. 309 Picasso: Tradition and Avant-Garde (exhibition catalogue), Museo Nacional del Prado & Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid, 2006, fig. 46.2, illustrated p. 339

provenance

Galerie Louise Leiris, Paris Galleria Medea, Cortina d'Ampezzo Sale: Finarte, Milan, 15th March 1983, lot 78 Private Collection (purchased at the above sale) Private Collection, Europe (acquired from the above. Sold: Sotheby's, London, 19th June 2007, lot 34) Purchased at the above sale by the present owner

signedDate

Signed Picasso (upper right); dated 22. 23. 24. 25. 26. 27. 3. 67. on the reverse

time_period

Painted between 22nd and 27th March 1967.

consignmentDesignation

Property from an Important Private Collection

creator_nationality_dates

1881-1973





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