Portrait d'Édouard Pignon

Pablo Picasso

Portrait d'Édouard Pignon , 1966

Works on paper
12.0 x 9.5 Inches
Wax crayon on paper
Unique artwork
Estimate $256,500 - $313,500
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Edouard Pignon, Paris and thence by descent to the present owner Christie's, London, June 25, 2014 (lot 121)
Dated and numbered '2.4.66. II' in lower left

About the artwork

Picasso is well known for his portraits of friends and muses, as they helped shape his artistic journey. Portrait d'Édouard Pignon (1966) is a crayon drawing of close-friend and French artist Edouard Pignon. Picasso created multiple portraits of Pignon, signifying the profound friendship between the pair. Pignon was married to art critic and writer Helene Pormelin, of whom Picasso also created portraits. The couple supported Communism, as did Picasso, and frequently spent the summer months with Picasso and his wife, Jacqueline Roque, in the south of France. Speaking of his relationship with Picasso, Pignon stated, “His friendship is the gold of my life, his vitality is a source of life. He continues more than ever to be linked to all the research of his time.” Created during his later years, this colorful drawing of Edouard Pignon smoking a cigar utilizes a mixture of Picasso’s various artistic styles.

About the artist

Pablo Picasso

Pablo Picasso (1881-1973) was one of the most influential artists of the 20th century. Producing over 20,000 works in his lifetime, Picasso’s oeuvre consists of painting, collage, sculpture, etchings, and ceramics. Born in Málaga, Spain, Picasso’s interest and practice in art began at an early age. His father Don José Ruiz y Blasco was an artist and teacher and began training Picasso in drawing and oil painting at the age of seven. He eventually went on to study at the Royal Academy of San Fernando in Madrid, Spain’s top art academy at the time, for a brief period before permanently moving to Paris in 1904. 

In Paris, Picasso cultivated a network of artists, poets, writers, and collectors who would help inspire new approaches to his art. For example, his friendship with Georges Braque led to the birth of early Cubism, in which both artists were attempting to reconcile three-dimensional space with the two-dimensional picture plane. Picasso’s fascination with pre-Roman Iberian sculpture and African and Oceanic art also began after his move to Paris and heavily influenced his style of Cubism. The painting Les Demoiselles d’Avignon marks Picasso’s break from traditional composition to the beginning of his experimentation with Cubism. Cubism would appear in his work to varying degrees for the rest of his long career, but there were periods in which it was less pronounced. The 1920s mark Picasso’s transition to his Neoclassical period and later Surrealist period. 

Picasso’s monumental work Guernica was painted in 1937 in response to his outrage over the Spanish Civil War. Arguably one of Picasso’s most overtly political pieces, this work not only shows the horror of wartime but also Picasso’s deep connection to his Spanish roots, even while living in France. By the late 1940s, Picasso moved to the south of France, and his international fame continued to increase. In 1957, Picasso had a massive retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art that attracted over 100,000 visitors in its first month and is said to have solidified Picasso’s prominence among the art world. Creating work up until he died, Picasso's work remains central to many collections both public and private, and the artist is credited with defining the visual language of modernism. The fascination with Picasso' artistic genius will likely never fade. 

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