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Pablo Picasso

”Nu allongé”

Sold for 680.000 SEK at Uppsala Auktionskammare’s Important Sale 7-10 June 2017.

469. Pablo Picasso (Spain/France 1881‑1973). ”Nu allongé”. Signed and dated Picasso 3.2.68.
Ink, brush and charcoal on paper, 23.5 x 32 cm.

When Picasso drew ”Nu allongé” in the early spring of 1968, he was living together with his devoted, last wife Jacqueline Roque in Notre-Dame-de-vie in Mougins. The features of the nude woman in this work resemble those of Jacqueline in Picasso’s many portraits of his beloved wife. Even though she entered his life relatively late, she became his favourite and most painted subject and began to appear in Picasso’s paintings from 1954. The picture is not recognized as a portrait of Jacqueline Roque, however she was undoubtedly an inspiration to this and numerous of the works created by Picasso in his later years.

Throughout his life, Picasso was involved with several women and they all, to a great extent, influenced the artist and his paintings during the time they spent together. He painted several portraits of nude women, often seated or reclining (or laying down), holding different items in their hands. The drawing ”Nu allongé”, which is included in this sale, depicts a woman with long curly hair leaning backwards in a seated position with her left arm supporting her body weight by staying flat on the ground. Her legs are crossed at the very beginning of her feet and she is resting her right arm on her legs. Picasso has focused on the female curves of her body, which has been intensified by the use of different shades of black and strong and bold lines. In contrast to many other drawings created by the artist during this period in his life, the features of her face are completely missing as Picasso has chosen to fill in her visage entirely. This rather bold move leaves the viewer without leads to who the woman in this drawing might be although it was most probably inspired by the woman in his life at that time. Picasso has portrayed the woman in a relaxed yet expectant and vivid position, suggesting a close and intimate relationship between the model in the drawing and the artist himself.

In the 1950’s and early 1960’s, Picasso often found himself seeking inspiration in the iconography of Old Masters. However, a few years before he executed ”Nu allongé” he limited the use of allusive references to previous works to his etchings and began to focus more on the model and her relation to the artist. Numerous versions of this theme were created during his remaining years but often with different compositions. Sometimes he drew himself painting the model with his easel in hand, other times he included only himself with his own complicated thoughts in the picture. In this drawing, only the nude model fills up the image but the relationship between the woman and Picasso is ever present.

His complex, yet intense relationship to the many women in his life contributed to the creation of some of his most impressive works. For the artist, sexual power and creative power shared the same impulse. His way of depicting sexuality is completely explicit, and when discussing art and eroticism he stated; “Art is never chaste. It ought to be forbidden to ignorant innocents, never allowed into contact with those not sufficiently prepared. Yes, art is dangerous. Where it is chaste, it is not art.” (Antonia Vallentin, Picasso, 1963, p. 168). During this time in his life, Picasso fully entered a period of diversity in his artistry and his paintings and drawings became even more daring and expressive. Even during his later years, he remained active and defied old age with a youthful outlook on the world and an endless curiosity in the people around him. In his last years, Picasso created more works of art than at any other comparable period in his life. Painting and drawing almost became an obsession for him and he dated each work with an absolute precision. The works from his final years are painted in a free, unrestrained way and he allowed himself a freedom needing no justification. A gentle playfulness and youth exudes the works dating from this period, leading the viewer to an irresistible fascination for his artistry.

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