Pablo Picasso (1881-1973)
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Pablo Picasso (1881-1973)


Pablo Picasso (1881-1973)
oil on canvas
7½ x 9½ in. (19 x 24 cm.)
Painted in Dinard on 23 August 1928
Marina Picasso.
Galerie Jan Krugier, New York & Geneva.
Anonymous sale, Sotheby's, London, 1 July 1998, lot 178.
Acquired at the above sale by the present owner.
C. Zervos, Pablo Picasso, oeuvres de 1926 à 1932, vol. 7, Paris, 1955, no. 221 (illustrated pl. 87).
The Picasso Project, Picasso's Paintings, Watercolors, Drawings and Sculpture, Toward Surrealism, 1925-1929, San Francisco, 1996, no. 28-213, p. 175 (illustrated).
J. Richardson, A Life of Picasso, The Triumphant Years, 1917-1932, London, 2007, p. 361.
Munich, Haus der Kunst, Pablo Picasso, February - April 1981, no. 146 (illustrated); this exhibition later travelled to Cologne, Josef-Haubrich-Kunsthalle; and Frankfurt, Stadelsches Kunstinstitut.
Venice, Centro di Cultura di Palazzo Grassi, Picasso: Opere dal 1895 al 1971 dalla Collezione Marina Picasso, 1981, no. 199.
Tokyo, National Museum of Modern Art, Picasso: Masterpieces from the Marina Picasso Collection, April - May 1983; this exhibition later travelled to Kyoto, Municipal Museum, June - July 1983.
Victoria, National Gallery, Picasso: Works from the Marina Picasso Collection, July - September 1984, no. 88; this exhibition later travelled to New South Wales, Art Gallery, October - December 1984.
New York, Jan Krugier Gallery, Picasso. Cubist Works from the Marina Picasso Collection, October 1987.
Stuttgart, Staatsgalerie, Picasso, Badende, June - October 2005, no. 56, p. 226 (illustrated p. 85).
Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's Resale Right Regulations 2006 apply to this lot, the buyer agrees to pay us an amount equal to the resale royalty provided for in those Regulations, and we undertake to the buyer to pay such amount to the artist's collection agent. VAT rate of 5% is payable on hammer price and at 20% on the buyer's premium.


Pablo Picasso painted Baigneuse in Dinard on 23 August 1928. This is one of the famous pictures of bathers that Picasso created during this period in which he explored, with an increasingly expressive visual language, the theme of the bather. This was a motif that he had worked w previously and to which he would return again and again. In part, it may have been partly inspired by the precedent of his great artistic hero, Paul Cézanne. Indeed, Picasso would return to the subject to carry out his own avant garde campaigns against the conventions of painting, pushing the limits further and further, just as Cézanne had.

During the late 1920s, that dimension of artistic pioneering was increasingly influenced by Picasso's relationship with the leading figures of Surrealism. Coming in the wake of his Ingresque, Neo-Classical, sometimes almost photorealistic pictures, the raw expressivity of Baigneuse is bracing. Here, the figure of a woman is shown as a form of landscape, her body demarcated with the mountain-like peaks of her breasts, her small head a peninsula receding into the distance, the focus on the expanse of open flesh in the foreground. During this time, many of Picasso's pictures of bathers showed figures playing on the beach, viewed from the perspective of someone lying on the ground, subjective and highly personal snapshots of his own emotional state. The subject of many of these images was his young lover Marie-Thérèse Walter, whom he had met recently and had brought to Dinard, where he had essentially concealed her from his wife and son, with whom he was staying.

In Baigneuse, Picasso's proprietorial feelings are clear: where in the beachball images he was looking up at a standing, playing figure, here the elevated horizon implies that he is looking down on the naked Marie-Thérèse. In his authoritative biography of the artist, John Richardson has singled out this picture and its possessive atmosphere: 'In a painting of Marie-Thérèse on a beach towel, her lover has added a glint of golden pubic hair to confirm that this is indeed her and she is indeed his' (J. Richardson, A Life of Picasso: The Triumphant Years 1917-1932, London, 2007, p. 361). This picture of an inviting, open flesh landscape was in marked contrast to some of the more tortured images of Picasso's wife Olga that he created during the same period. Baigneuse reveals to what extent Picasso's ménage à trios and his relationship with the young, athletic Marie-Thérèse in particular, a revivifying, rejuvenating experience cloaked in subterfuge, brought him closer to the interests of the Surrealists during this crucial period.