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    Sale 2454 | Lot 338
    Price Realized: $125,000With Buyer's Premium
    Show Hammer Price
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    • Sale 2454 Lot 338

      Françoise sur fond gris.

      Lithograph on bluish gray Ingres Canson paper appliqué on vélin d'Arches, 1950. 632x471 mm; 25x18 1/2 inches, full margins. Signed and numbered 21/50 in pencil, lower margin. A superb, richly-inked impression of this large, important lithograph.

      Picasso called Françoise Gilot (born 1921), his muse and mistress from 1943 to 1953 and the mother of their children, Claude and Paloma, "The Woman Who Says No," as she alone among his many lovers dared to defy him and ultimately left him in the south of France. Françoise was born to a wealthy family in Neuilly-sur-Seine, her father was a businessman and her mother was an amateur artist. From an early age, Françoise yearned to be an artist like her mother, but her father forced her into studying law, which she ultimately abandoned after several failed attempts to resist her father's control, by 1942 devoting her life to becoming an artist.

      When their relationship began the following year she was 21--a neophyte in the art world--Picasso, who had just turned 61 years old, was among the most famous living artists on the planet. Gilot put her artistic pursuits on hold (she eventually returned to them and established herself as an artist with some success from the 1960s onward) in place of raising their two children. She and Picasso fought frequently however, and by the early 1950s their relationship had dissolved, she separated from the artist and their home in the south of France and relocated with their children to Paris.

      In this tour-de-force lithograph, the second, more complete version of two lithograph portraits of Françoise from November 1950, Picasso shows her with characteristic narrow, arching eyebrows, full lips and youthful visage. Piccasso's old friend Matisse, who was fond of Gilot and found artistic inspiration in her feminine beauty as well, remarked that he would paint her with a pale blue body and leaf-green hair, which prompted Picasso to create La Femme-Fleur, 1946, another famous portrait of Françoise, hyper-stylized with a pale blue body and leaves for hair. Impressions of this highly-worked lithograph were printed in black on a bluish gray paper (perhaps harkening to the blue-toned figure of Françoise in La Femme-Fleur) adhered to a sturdy cream wove paper during the printing process. The heightened drawing of the portrait and the quality of the printing process combine to produce perhaps the most visually stunning and successful lithographs Picasso created during the span of his seven-decades-long, prolific career. Bloch 681; Mourlot 195; Reuße 552.

      Estimate $70,000 - 100,000

      Price Realized (with Buyer's Premium) $125,000