Search for over 80 million sold items in our price database

Nus
Withdrawn
Nus
Withdrawn

Nus

US
NY, US
US

About the item

This extraordinary group of fluid-limbed, surrealist creatures gambolling in a landscape was painted on April 8, 1934, during a brief period when Picasso was concentrating on paintings of still-life – Nature Morte (Zervos VIII, 196) painted on April 5 (see fig. 1), Nature Morte (Zervos VIII, 195) painted on April 7, and Nature Morte (Zervos VIII, 197) painted on April 10. That week, Picasso favored a range of colors - baby blue, apple green and pale ochres - that in their refinement recall the delicacy of Marie Laurencin rather than the strident coloration of many of his contemporary oil paintings. He seemed to delight in the irony of depicting the sexual curiosity of his rapacious creatures in this soft tonality. Although they are unique in Picasso’s oeuvre, their history can be traced back to at least the beginning of the previous decade when the activities of adolescents enjoying their new-found freedom on the beach provided the inspiration for numerous works (see fig. 2). They appeared with some regularity since Picasso spent most summers in the South of France. From the neo-classical abandon of La Course, painted at Dinard in 1922 (Zervos IV, 380, see fig. 3) to the bathers wearing striped bathing suits in the numerous small panels painted in Dinard in the summer of 1928, there is a direct line of succession. Marie-Thérèse’s passion for swimming (see fig. 4)and Picasso’s obsessive desire for her provided fierce erotic subtexts to these marine scenes.\nPicasso’s forms became increasingly biomorphic after the change of direction marked by Trois Danseuses, 1925 (Zervos, V, 426). In the drawings produced at Cannes in the summer of 1927, the human form became boneless and body parts interchangeable.  Although Picasso always kept his distance from the Surrealists, there is no question that his friendship with many writers and poets associated with the movement (especially Paul Eluard) resulted in a dramatic expansion of the territory he allowed himself to explore. As Roland Penrose remarked, "The association with the surrealists had the effect of bringing about in a sudden burst a new and disquieting manifestation of the underlying restlessness of Picasso’s mind, which had been for a while partially overlaid by domestic happiness. Breton’s dictum that ‘beauty must be convulsive or cease to be,’ coincided with this new torment that had begun to disturb Picasso" (Roland Penrose, Picasso His Life and Work, Berkely and Los Angeles, 1981, p. 250).\nBy the time he painted Nus, Picasso was fully prepared to work in a style that approached orthodox Surrealism. The drawings of 1933 and 1934, violent in feeling and impetuous in execution, frequently assemble disparate objects in a magical way, for example in the extraordinary series executed in February 1934 (Zervos VIII, 168-180). The octopus-like figures in Nus are, on the contrary, all formed from the same pliable material, but the profusion and interchangeability of body parts makes an exact body-count nearly impossible. Weightless and curiously innocent in their sexual curiosity, the less than human forms in Picasso’s phantasmagoria are among his most remarkable creations in the period immediately preceding Guernica.\nFig. 1, Pablo Picasso, Nature morte, April 5, 1934, oil on canvas, Private Collection\nFig. 2, Pablo Picasso, Le sauvetage, November 1932, oil on canvas, sold: Sotheby's, New York, May 6, 2004, lot 120\nFig. 3, Pablo Picasso, La course, 1922, goauche, Musée Picasso, Paris\nFig. 4, Photograph of Marie-Thérèse Walter at the beach in Dinard, 1928-29\nSigned Picasso (upper left); dated and inscribed Boisgeloup, 8 Avril XXXIV (upper right)
US
NY, US
US

medium

Oil on canvas

creator

Pablo Picasso

dimensions

32 by 39 1/2 in.

exhibition

Caracas, Museo de Bellas Artes; Lima, Instituto de Arte Contemporaneo; Santiago, Museo Nacional de Artes, El Arte del Surrealismo, 1972 New York, The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, The Evelyn Sharp Collection, 1978, no. 37

literature

Christian Zervos, Pablo Picasso: oeuvres de 1932 a 1937, vol. 8 Paris, 1957, no. 115, illustrated pl. 49 The Picasso Project, Picasso's Paintings, Watercolors, Drawings and Sculptures, Surrealism, 1930-1936, San Francisco, 1997, no. 34-076, illustrated p. 225

provenance

Galerie Louise Leiris, Paris Perls Galleries, New York (acquired from the above in 1965) Evelyn Sharp (acquired from the above and sold: Sotheby's, New York, November 12, 1997, lot 10) Acquired at the above sale

signedDate

Signed Picasso (upper left); dated and inscribed Boisgeloup, 8 Avril XXXIV (upper right)

consignmentDesignation

Property from a Private Collection

creator_nationality_dates

1881-1973





Advert
Advert

Sold items

Nu couché
Sold

Nu couché

Realized Price
170,405,000 USD

Nu assis sur un divan (La Belle Romaine)
Sold

Nu assis sur un divan (La Belle Romaine)

Realized Price
68,962,500 USD

Nu couché (sur le côté gauche)
Sold

Nu couché (sur le côté gauche)

Realized Price
26,887,500 USD

Nu au collier
Sold

Nu au collier

Realized Price
23,344,579 USD

Nu allongé I (Aurore)
Sold

Nu allongé I (Aurore)

Realized Price
20,431,125 USD

Mousquetaire et nu assis
Sold

Mousquetaire et nu assis

Realized Price
19,501,925 USD

Nu couché vu de dos
Sold

Nu couché vu de dos

Realized Price
18,496,000 USD

Vénus (Nu debout, nu médicis)
Sold

Vénus (Nu debout, nu médicis)

Realized Price
15,920,000 USD

Nu jaune
Sold

Nu jaune

Realized Price
13,736,000 USD

Mousquetaire et nu assis
Sold

Mousquetaire et nu assis

Realized Price
13,338,460 USD

Nicolas de Staël (1914-1955) Nu Debout
Sold

Nicolas de Staël (1914-1955) Nu Debout

Realized Price
12,125,000 USD

Nu aux jambes croisées
Sold

Nu aux jambes croisées

Realized Price
12,010,000 USD