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Picasso sketch for Diaghilev Ballet costume to feature in Bonhams next Impressionist auction
One of the highlights of the sale is Etude de costume pour ‘le Magicien Chinois’ dans le ballet PARADE by Pablo Picasso (1881-1973) which is estimated to sell for £18,000-22,000. Photo: Bonhams.
LONDON.- A delicate costume design by Picasso for Diaghilev’s ballet Parade is one of the highlights of the next Impressionist & Modern Art auction on April 4th 2012 at Bonhams, 13 Montpelier Street, Knightsbridge, London. Ruth Graham of Bonhams Impressionist department comments, “We’re really excited to be holding the first of our mid-season Impressionist and Modern Art sales. The auction includes a broad selection of paintings, works on paper, sculptures and ceramics by some of the leading artists of the 20th century, with prices ranging from just £500 to £18,000.”

One of the highlights of the sale is Etude de costume pour ‘le Magicien Chinois’ dans le ballet PARADE by Pablo Picasso (1881-1973) which is estimated to sell for £18,000-22,000. In January 1917 Sergei Diaghilev, the founder of the Ballets Russes, approached Picasso to design the costumes and set for his one-act ballet Parade, which was the first time Picasso has designed for the stage. Composed by Erik Satie, choreographed by Léonide Massine and with a libretto by Jean Cocteau, Parade premiered in Paris in May 1917. Picasso worked on his designs in February of that year whilst living in Rome with his fellow contributors, and it is here that he met his future wife Olga Khokhlova, who was a dancer in Diaghilev’s troupe.

This sketch shows the reverse of the costume which was comprised of a rich red Chinese jacket with bold gold and silver design. The costume was made familiar to Londoners in 1919 when it was displayed on posters throughout the underground to advertise the Ballets Russes’s summer season in Leicester Square. Picasso was said to be amused by the moustaches and additions made to the posters on the underground by passers by. A watercolour version of the present lot, showing the costume from the front, can be seen in the Tate Britain’s current exhibition, ‘Picasso and Modern British Art’.

A selection of ceramic works by Picasso are also expected to attract much interest. A playful plate of Visage dans un ovale (£2,000-3,000), a terracotta plaque titled Le verre sous la lampe, (£1,000-1,500), a vase, Lampe femme (£4,000-6,000) and a jug featuring a woman’s face, Femme du barbu (£5,000-7,000) are just a few of the examples on offer, giving bidders the opportunity to own a Picasso for a relatively affordable price.

Portrait de Madame Dufy by Raoul Dufy is an intimate portrait of the artist’s wife and is estimated at £7,000-9,000. The portrait has excellent provenance, coming originally from the artist’s family and purchased by the family of the present owner from the Galerie Fanny Guillon-Laffaille, Paris.

Two decorative works by the French artist Georges Terzian (b.1939) have attractive pre-sale estimates: La mandolin (£2,500-3,500) and Agadir (£2,000-3,000). The artist is known for his post-Cubist style which references Braque and Picasso but whose works express a unique vibrancy.

The sale also includes Femme nue de dos en torsion by Auguste Rodin (£3,000-5,000), Etude d'éstampe by Man Ray (£1,000-1,500) and Fleur de lys by Salvador Dali (£700-900) as well as many other works by well known names.

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