Pablo Picasso (1881-1973)
Property from the Collection of Renate and Sidney Shapiro It was a marriage of love and complete sharing. The Renate and Sidney Shapiro collection is a reflection of the couple's deep love for each other. Married fifty years, Renate and Sidney started to collect as a way to explore New York culture, the arts and world travel, later inspiring their two sons. Featuring prestigious examples of modern, contemporary and African Art, the Shapiro collection is like a journey around the world, and includes examples of works by artists as various as Pablo Picasso, Alexander Calder, Diego Giacometti and Manuel Rivera. Passionate collectors, the Shapiros recognized that selecting the right art required time and careful research. Early on, a simple rule was established for all acquisitions--they both had to agree the art was exceptional, no matter how many steps they had had to climb to visit an artist's studio! For her birthday, Renate would say to Sidney, "Don't buy me jewelry, buy us art". On one occasion, Sidney, a successful home fashion designer and manufacturer, surprised Renate with a silver necklace by Alexander Calder, that she often wore. Sidney and Renate would meet the artists personally whenever possible before acquiring their work. They traveled to Paris to meet Diego Giacometti before purchasing his L'Autruche and Table Grecque (see Impressionist and Modern Art Day Sale lots 415 and 416). Renate and Sidney's interest in contemporary art blossomed in the late 1970s as they were early supporters and advocates of The New Museum for Contemporary Art. As a result, the Shapiros added works to the collection by many of the best-known contemporary artists of the period, including William Anastasi, Ann Hamilton, Keith Haring, Anish Kapoor, Robert Longo, Mario Merz, Julian Schnabel and Daisy Youngblood.
Pablo Picasso (1881-1973)

Le peintre et son modèle

Pablo Picasso (1881-1973)
Le peintre et son modèle
signed, dated and inscribed 'XXXIII Picasso Cannes 26 juillet' (lower left)
gouache, watercolor, brush and India ink and gray wash on paper
15¾ x 19¾ in. (40 x 50 cm.)
Executed in Cannes, 26 July 1933
Galerie Simon, Paris.
Dr. Allan Roos and Mrs. B. Mathieu Roos, New York (by 1957); sale, Sotheby Parke Bernet, New York, 26 May 1976, lot 252.
Acquired at the above sale by the family of the present owner.
C. Zervos, Pablo Picasso, Paris, 1957, vol. 8, p. 50, no. 121 (illustrated; with incorrect dimensions).
The Picasso Project, ed., Picasso's Paintings, Watercolors, Drawings and Sculpture: Surrealism, 1930-1936, San Francisco, 2009, p. 178, no. 33-074 (illustrated).


Picasso painted the watercolor Le peintre et son modèle in Cannes, where in early July 1933 he arrived with his wife Olga and son Paulo for their customary seaside summer holiday. In the previous year Olga and Paulo had vacationed without Picasso in Juan-les-Pins; after the great outlay of effort in preparation for his first major retrospective at Galeries Georges Petit earlier that summer, Picasso wanted to get back to work in his sculpture studio at Boisgeloup. With Olga safely distant, he could also more pursue enjoy his on-going liaison with Marie-Thérèse Walter. The summer before that, in 1931, the entire Picasso family was in Juan-les-Pins, and Marie-Thérèse was there as well--Picasso had secretly installed his mistress nearby. Now in July 1933, likely because of complications in logistics, it was Marie-Thérèse's turn to remain behind in Paris. In mid-August Picasso was to travel in his luxurious Hispano-Suiza motorcar with Olga and Paulo to Barcelona, for a reunion with old friends and to view a collection of his Barcelona-period works which the museum there had recently acquired.

No oil paintings date from that summer in Cannes, but Picasso did execute a remarkable sequence of works on paper, about thirty in all, some in gouache, others in watercolor with brush, pen and black ink (Picasso Project nos. 33/064-088). One thread of drawings is predominantly classical in subject and style, as seen in the present watercolor. The other group displays the most pronounced surrealist bent of anything Picasso had done to date, by which means Picasso imagined wild confrontations between Olga and Marie-Thérèse on the beach, with each woman configured as frenetic-looking, jerry-built constructions of various odds and ends. On some sheets Picasso mingled these two approaches.

The Cannes drawings had precedents in works Picasso had done earlier in the year. The classical drawings follow in the spirit of the etchings in the "Sculptor's Studio" series which Picasso executed in March, later collected in the Suite Vollard. Picasso made a study in a sketchbook of a painter and his model as his very first work of 1933, done on 1 January, a continuation of sequence begun the at the end of the previous year. Antecedent to the surrealist beach drawings is the sequence of thirty sketches done in late February and early March, each designated une anatomie (Picasso Project, nos. 33/020-029), which depict figures of Marie-Thérèse fabricated as bizarre carpentry in the outlines of various objects and shapes.

Olga's increasingly unsettled behavior and grating presence in Picasso's life called for the ruder mechanics of surrealist imagining. On the other hand, when Picasso fantasized about the lovely, acquiescent Marie-Thérèse, he was inclined to render her in a classically harmonious and sensuous manner with softly flowing, organic lines. Picasso's seaside holidays in the South always brought out the classical, Mediterranean side of his creative personality, a mood which inspired him to forge a personal mythos, tinged with the aura of antiquity.

Many of the elements in the watercolor Le peintre et son modèle recall the now famous oil painting of Marie-Thérèse, Nude, Green Leaves and Bust (fig. 1), which Picasso had done for his retrospective. In the present drawing, set on a classical balcony overlooking the sea, we again observe the voluptuous figure of a sleeping Marie-Thérèse. Nearby is a potted plant, such as Marie-Thérèse liked to maintain in her apartment, which signifies her healthy, natural qualities. We only know of Picasso's proximity in the oil painting from the shadow he has cast across his sleeping mistress. Here, by contrast, he is front and center, drawing pad in hand, gazing on his beloved as he prepares to sketch her. A background curtain in the oil painting shielded the sleeping nymph from the light of a dawning day and prying eyes of the outside world; here diaphanous veils draped around the young woman's bed invite the viewer's curiosity as to what is about to take place. The artist and model theme, a powerful understanding of sex and art as metaphors for each other, would weave in and out of Picasso's work throughout his career, and ultimately serve as the valedictory theme of his final years.

(fig. 1) Pablo Picasso, Nude, Green Leaves and Bust, 8 March 1932. Sold, Christie's, New York, 4 May 2010, lot 6.