It is always intriguing to have a glimpse behind the public façade and into the private life of a genius, and collectors can now not only see into Picasso’s studio, but collect some of the pieces that surrounded him as he worked. Sotheby’s will be holding the Picasso in Private sale in London on Friday February 5 (viewing January 28 to February 4), auctioning a collection of pieces in various media.
This collection is highly eclectic, much like the great man himself. Encompassing 187 works estimated from £4,000 to £180,000, including 70 ceramics and terracotta sculptures and 106 works on paper, the auction illustrates the sheer scope of Picasso’s work – from the geometry of the cubist period to traditional landscape and portrait studies.
“This wonderful collection presents an intimate view of the artist in his moments of creation, as though we are standing at Picasso’s shoulder, able to observe his creative process as he reinvented himself as an artist over and over again,” says Helena Newman, co-head of Impressionist and Modern Art Worldwide. “Picasso’s drawings and unique ceramics allow one to get right up close to the artist at the very genesis of the development of many of his core elemental themes.”
Of the works on paper, of particular note is a witty pen on paper cut-out that’s part silhouette, part drawing, called Visage de Femme (second picture), executed in November 1962 and estimated at £180,000-£250,000. The golden-hued unique plaster Femme Debout (first picture), executed in 1945, is wonderfully distinctive and is estimated at £50,000-£70,000. And among the ceramics, most striking is a tall, elegant yet playful jug, Femme à la Robe Entrouverte (third picture) from c1955, estimated at £35,000-£45,000. Expected to draw another of the highest bids is the pen and ink on paper work Chevalier Picador dans l’Arène (fourth picture), estimated at £120,000-£180,000.
And, given that the collection comes from his granddaughter, Marina Picasso, the provenance is impeccable.