Apr 28, 2022 - Sale 2602

Sale 2602 - Lot 377

Price Realized: $ 23,750
?Final Price Realized includes Buyer’s Premium added to Hammer Price
Estimate: $ 20,000 - $ 30,000
Garçon et Dormeuse a la Chandelle.

Aquatint and etching, 1934. 235x296 mm; 9 1/4x11 3/4 inches, full margins. Edition of 260. Signed in pencil, lower right. Picasso watermark. Printed by Lacourière, Paris. Published by Vollard, Paris. A superb, richly-inked impression.

Garçon et Dormeuse a la Chandelle is one of 100 different etchings from the Vollard Suite, a series Picasso (1881-1973) produced from 1930 to 1937 for Parisian publisher Ambroise Vollard. While over 300 sets were printed, complete suites are exceedingly scarce, instead the prints from this series now are often found individually.

The suite spans Picasso's passionate, sometimes tumultuous affair with his teenage model and muse Marie-Thérèse Walter. Many of the earlier works in the series portray a sculptor in his studio among his work--alluding to the classical myth of Pygmalion. The later prints become increasingly dark as both his relationship with Marie-Thérèse waned and Europe marched toward World War II.

This particular print marks a turning point in Picasso's relationship with Marie-Thérèse, as it was made when Picasso learned that she was pregnant with his child in 1934. Her pregnancy marked the end of Picasso's then marriage to the Ballet Russe dancer Olga Koklova and also the beginning of the end for his relationship with his young model (just one year later he would meet Dora Maar--with whom Marie-Thérèse would become embattled over Picasso's affection).

This print, however, portrays a tranquil scene of a sleeping woman--Marie-Thérèse--her fertile feminine features illuminated by candlelight, with a young man (likely intended to symbolize Picasso himself) sitting and thoughtfully watching her at rest. A single candle illuminating the scene creates a stillness and chiaroscuro reminiscent of Rembrandt's nocturnal scenes.

The onset of World War II and the sudden death of the publisher Vollard in a car crash in the south of France in 1939 delayed the distribution of this seminal suite, among the most important modern print series by a single artist, until the 1950s. Bloch 226; Geiser 440.