Pablo Picasso, ‘Comédie Humaine,  Deux Personages, 27/1/54.XIV’, 1954, Fairhead Fine Art Limited
Pablo Picasso, ‘Comédie Humaine,  Deux Personages, 27/1/54.XIV’, 1954, Fairhead Fine Art Limited
Pablo Picasso, ‘Comédie Humaine,  Deux Personages, 27/1/54.XIV’, 1954, Fairhead Fine Art Limited

These were published in Verve 29-30 - The Verve Review, like its sister publications Derrier Le Miroir and XXe Siecle, was a Parisian art journal seeking to bring the works of the emergent Modernist and Surrealist painters to a wider public. In 1954 Verve devoted it’s number 29/30 edition exclusively to the works by Pablo Picasso. This comprised a suite of illustrations for 180 drawings and a sub- series entitled “La Comedie Humaine” These were included within the book as bookplates. Verve published some of the works in a Limited Edition of 75 which were signed and numbered by the artist in pencil from which our example comes. Unlike the book edition this has the blindstamp of the Publisher and is of large margins
The suite tackles the relationship between a painter and his model, which was one of the definitive themes for Picasso. There is a wonderfully free-flowing progression from one drawing to the next and through them Picasso explores the intimacies of the interactions between the two characters. Picasso was doubtless inspired by Balzac who made a series of 91 short stories entitled “Comedie Humaine”. These cynical stories appealed to Picasso who, at one stage in his life, lived in the very house once owned by Balzac.
As with any moment of evolution in Picasso’s art, his objective reflection was stimulated by changes in his personal life. With her distinct ‘Greek’ profile and long hair swept back behind her head, the model we see in Dessinateur et modèle is a new arrival in Picasso’s imagery and her appearance coincides with Picasso’s first meeting with Jacqueline Roque in December 1953. Jacqueline, who would later become the artist’s wife and last muse, possessed what Picasso celebrated as a sphinx-like presence and physique. The strength of the rapport between Picasso and Jacqueline was immediately tangible and is translated by the artist in these drawings with a tenderness that is at the same time both chaste and seductive.
In 1954 the drawings were interpreted in lithographic form and were published with an introduction by Michel Leiris who noted: “Painter and model, man and woman - in the field of art as in that of love, there is always a duel going on between the subject and the object, adversaries forever facing each other and separated by a gap that no one, however great his genius, can hope to bridge”
Condition report: Professional repaired fold in the centre of the work visible only in raking light.
There was also a book edition on smaller paper without the blindstamp of about 2000 copies.

Series: La Comedie Humaine

Signature: signed in pencil

Publisher: Verve, Paris, France

Mallen, Enrique, ed. Online Picasso Project. Sam Houston State University. 1997-2017. (54:427)

Gifted by the publisher, Teriade, to the family of the last owner.

About Pablo Picasso

A prolific and tireless innovator of art forms, Pablo Picasso impacted the course of 20th-century art with unparalleled magnitude. Inspired by African and Iberian art and developments in the world around him, Picasso contributed significantly to a number of artistic movements, notably Cubism, Surrealism, Neoclassicism, and Expressionism. Along with Georges Braque, Picasso is best known for pioneering Cubism in an attempt to reconcile three-dimensional space with the two-dimensional picture plane, once asking, “Are we to paint what’s on the face, what’s inside the face, or what’s behind it?” Responding to the Spanish Civil War, he painted his most famous work, Guernica (1937), whose violent images of anguished figures rendered in grisaille made it a definitive work of anti-war art. “Painting is not made to decorate apartments,” he said. “It’s an offensive and defensive weapon against the enemy.” Picasso’s sizable oeuvre includes over 20,000 paintings, prints, drawings, sculptures, ceramics, theater sets, and costume designs.

Spanish, 1881-1973, Malaga, Spain, based in Paris and Mougins, France