Nu couché, 1969
Pencil on paper
18 3/4 x 24 inches (47.5 x 61 cm)
Van de Weghe Fine Art is pleased to present an exhibition of works on paper by Pablo Picasso (1881-1973). Picasso, the father of Modernism, possessed a creativity of mythic proportion, and was a master of nearly every genre: painting, sculpture, ceramics, printmaking. Drawing was integral to his practice, allowing him to collect his thoughts, note his ideas, and work through visual problems while existing as an end to itself.
Picasso was an artist of variations, making suites of works on a specific subjects that could involve any amount of stylistic modifications; women were among his most favored. The exhibition includes three drawings, each titled Nu Couché, made successively in September,1969 and characteristic of the erotically charged works he did late in life. It’s striking to note how his treatment of the female nude changes from one drawing to the next. The first, from September 19th depicts the figure’s face, resembling his last wife and muse Jacqueline Roque, in elegant profile, her body folded neatly within page, limbs arranged one in front of the next. The next drawing made on September 20th is given more tumultuous treatment, the figure’s limbs distorted, her hair wild. In the third, Picasso returns to a more serene depiction of the figure while retaining some of the distortion of the preceding work; she has a sweet face, tossing her hair over her shoulder, while Picasso’s twisting line ties her crossed legs into a knot.
Picasso’s line is distinctive and immediately recognizable in its fluidity and playful meandering. He uses this humblest of marks to evoke all matter of form and gesture. Another work on view, Les déjeuners, 1961 is a study for a group of paintings called Le déjeuner sur l’herbe after Manet. Picasso makes efficient use of the line here to define the bent female figure and her companion, seated prosaically on the grass. In Le Peintre et son Modéle, 1970 the female figure is described with a delicate line which carries into the drapery that covers her lower half. The artist, more loosely rendered, looks on earnestly.
Picasso’s drawings retained their vigor til the end. Their power derives from their looseness, spontaneity, and feeling of improvisation, even as he utilizes a single subject as a starting point. They are an unmediated glimpse into the artist’s mind and process. Picasso’s long and virtuosic career was characterized by his prolific output and uninhibited innovation, and he remains a fixed point against which we continue to measure all other art.
Gallery hours are Monday-Friday, from 10:00am to 6:00pm, and by appointment. For further information, please contact Pierre Ravelle-Chapuis at Pierre@vdwny.com.