Maya Widmaier-Picasso has confirmed the authenticity of this watercolor.
Claude Picasso has confirmed the authenticity of this watercolor.
Picasso painted Sur la terrasse in Cannes, where in early July 1933 he arrived with his wife Olga and son Paulo for their customary seaside summer holiday. Two summers previously, in 1931, while the entire Picasso family was in nearby Juan-les-Pins, the artist had secretly installed Marie-Thérèse Walter, his young mistress, in a pension nearby. Now in July 1933, due to logistical complications, Marie-Thérèse had to remain behind in Paris, but she nonetheless made her presence felt in the artist's imaginings, appearing in various watercolors and drawings as a nubile nude model, or as seen here in the form of a sculpted bust mounted on a plinth and displayed on the terrace of a Mediterranean villa. Picasso's seaside holidays in the South always brought out the classical side of his creative personality, putting him in an exultant mood that inspired many of his most serene fantasies, as he colored his personal mythos with the aura of antiquity.
No oil paintings date from that summer in Cannes; instead Picasso executed a remarkable sequence of works on paper, about thirty in all, some in gouache, others in watercolor with brush, pen and black ink, all on sheets of paper measuring around 15¾ x 19¾ in. (40 x 50 cm.; Picasso Project's nos. 33/064-088). One thread of drawings is predominantly classical in subject and style, as seen in the present watercolor. Another group displays the most pronounced surrealist inflection of anything Picasso had done to date; in these drawings Picasso imagined wild confrontations between Olga and Marie-Thérèse on the beach, with each woman configured as frenetic, flailing, jerry-built constructions of various odds and ends. On some sheets Picasso mingled these two approaches.
The Cannes drawings have as their antecedents various works done earlier in 1933 and in previous years. During late February and March of 1933, Marie-Thérèse had been the subject of a sequence of thirty sketches done in Paris, each designated une anatomie (Picasso Project's, nos. 33/020-029), which depict her figure as fabrications of bizarre carpentry. The classical subjects follow in the spirit of the etchings in the "Sculptor's Studio" series which Picasso executed between 15 March and 5 May (Bloch, nos. 146-189), later collected in the Suite Vollard. The sculpture which Picasso depicted in this watercolor is a conflation of various heads that he modeled of Marie-Thérèse in his countryside studio of Boisgeloup during 1931-1932 (Spies, nos. 128-133; no. 131; fig. 1).
Olga's increasingly unsettled behavior and grating presence caused Picasso to couch her appearance in his work using the ruder mechanics of surrealist deformation. When Picasso fantasized about the acquiescent Marie-Thérèse, on the other hand, he normally rendered her in a classically harmonious and sensuous manner with softly flowing, organic lines. Marie-Thérèse's presence in Picasso's life was then still a well-kept secret, known to only a few close friends. By placing his mistress's image in a public forum, Picasso may have expressed an inner desire to reveal her to the world; he never did so, however, and for the remainder of her life, Marie-Thérèse and their daughter Maya were kept out-of-sight, hidden in the shadows of Picasso's life, while she remained unfailingly dedicated in her love for him.
Elise Stern Haas acquired Sur la Terrasse from the Valentine Gallery circa 1938. She gave Sur la Terrasse to her son and daughter-in-law, Walter Haas Jr. and Evelyn Haas, in honor of their marriage in 1940. Sur la Terrasse remained a favorite work in Evelyn Haas' collection, and certainly inspired her not only as a collector but in her lifelong dedication to the arts.
(fig. 1) Picasso's sculpture studio at Boisgeloup, 1931. Archives Olga Ruiz-Picasso.
Sur la terrasse
Watercolor, brush and pen and India ink and gray wash on paper
Claude Picasso has confirmed the authenticity of this work.
Property from the Collection of Evelyn D. Haas
Evelyn D. Haas devoted her life to her family, philanthropy, public service and to bringing the arts to the people of San Francisco, as well as the world at large. Through their family foundation and personal endeavors, Evelyn and her husband Walter were involved in countless charitable activities including the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA), the restoration of San Francisco's Crissy Field, the San Francisco Chronicle Season of Sharing Fund and the San Francisco Symphony. For many years, Walter was CEO and Chairman of the Board of Levi Strauss & Co., and from 1980 to 1995, Walter and Evelyn owned the Oakland Athletics.
The charitable work of Evelyn D. Haas spans many fields, but she is best known for her lifelong dedication to the arts. Her passion was sparked when attending Wheaton College in Massachusetts in the 1930s and was further encouraged by her mother-in-law, Elise Stern Haas, who was an art enthusiast, renowned collector and a member of the SFMOMA Board of Trustees from 1953-1990. Elise was known for her extraordinary donations over the years including the bequest upon her death in 1990 of thirty-seven paintings, sculptures, and works on paper by modernist masters, among them Henri Matisse's Femme au chapeau, which she acquired from her dear friend Sarah Stein in the 1950s. This painting is currently one of the most important works in the critically acclaimed exhibition The Steins Collect, which is now on view at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, following previous tour stops at the SFMOMA and the Réunion des Musées Nationaux-Grand Palais in Paris. The relationship of the Haas family to this ground-breaking exhibition is a testament to the important role that the family has played in the understanding of Modern Art in America.
Elise helped Evelyn get involved at SFMOMA from a relatively young age, and they worked together at the museum for many years. In addition to her charitable commitments to the museum, Evelyn actively volunteered during the 1950s and 1960s until joining the Board of Trustees in 1972 (where she served until her death in February 2010). Over the years she held many roles on the board including Executive Vice President, President, and Chairman Emeritus.
Throughout her years working with and learning from Elise Haas and her time at SFMOMA, Evelyn Haas developed an exceptional eye for Modern and Contemporary Art. She was also deeply committed to promoting California artists and purchased mainly from galleries in San Francisco including the John Berggruen Gallery, from whom she and Walter acquired one of their most important works, Richard Diebenkorn's Berkeley #59, which we are honored to offer for sale in our 8 May 2011 Post-War & Contemporary Art Evening sale.
"I fell in love with the painting [Diebenkorn's Berkeley #59] right away. If this house ever catches fire, this painting is what I'd grab." Evelyn Haas, January 1995
The love and time that Evelyn put into selecting her favorite works resulted in a collection that is highly personal and filled with many wonderful examples of modern and contemporary art, which will serve to educate and enlighten the next generation of collectors.
Property from the Collection of Evelyn D. Haas
Signed, dated and inscribed 'Picasso Cannes 30 Juillet XXXIII' (lower right)
Pablo Picasso , 20th Century, Drawings & Watercolors, watercolor, Spain, Modern, still life
The Art Institute of Chicago, The Seventeenth International Exhibition of Water Colors, Pastels, Drawings and Monotypes, April-May 1938.
Berkeley, University Art Museum, California Collects, April-May 1986.
IMPRESSIONIST & MODERN ART
15¾ x 19¾ in. (40 x 50.2 cm.)
Valentine Gallery, New York (by 1938).
Mr. and Mrs. Walter A. Haas, Sr., San Francisco.
Gift from the above to the late owner, 1940.