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A Very Personal Picasso: The Lucia Bosé Collection to be Offered at Christie's London
Pablo Picasso and Lucia Bosé. © Christie's Images Limited. Images courtesy of Lucia Bosé.

LONDON.-A charming and personal selection of works by Pablo Picasso (1881-1973) from the collection of Lucia Bosé, the beautiful Italian movie star, is a highlight of Christie’s London sales of Impressionist and Modern Art in June 2008. The collection consists of 40 lots including works on paper, prints and ceramics by Picasso, all of which were gifts from the artist to the movie star and her family.

Teresa Krasny, Associate Director of Impressionist and Modern Art, Christie’s London said: “We are privileged to have been entrusted with this highly personal collection which reveals the private face of Picasso and the close bond of friendship between the artist and Lucia Bosé and her family. The intimate nature of the collection highlights the playful nature of the artist, his love of the couple’s children, his fond relationship with Lucia and the mutual admiration of Picasso and Dominguín”.

Lucia Bosé said: "Pablo Picasso was a dear friend to me and my family and this collection represents many happy times spent together. Pablo was a remarkable man with an endless ability to charm and entertain his friends both young and old. I have decided to offer this collection at auction and allow other people to gain great pleasure from these charming works, and proceeds from this sale will benefit the Museo de los Angeles in Segovia and all those who visit it in years to come."

The characters behind this collection are some of the most iconic in European cultural history of the mid-twentieth century. Lucia Bosé’s meteoric film career took off after being crowned Miss Italy in 1947, when she captured the attention of one judge in particular, film director Luchino Visconti. It was at his insistence that Michelangelo Antonioni cast her in his extraordinary first film Cronaca di un Amore, 1950. Other roles, ranging from comedic to tragic, quickly followed and in 1955, she gave a powerful performance in Muerte de un ciclista, directed by Juan Antonio Bardem who introduced her to the Spanish superstar matador Luis Miguel Dominguín in Madrid later that year. Dominguín, already at the height of his fame, later featured as a dueling matador in Ernest Hemingway's The Dangerous Summer, 1959. The couple married in 1955, and Lucia forsook her successful film career to raise her family.

Dominguín and Picasso already knew each other but became firm friends in Arles in 1958. The artist not only admired but was also greatly inspired by the prowess of the bullfighter in the ring, as evidenced by the drawings, prints and ceramics from this intimate collection. The Dominguín-Bosé family spent holidays at Picasso's villa La Californie in Cannes, and Picasso clearly delighted in the company of Lucia and her three children Miguel, Lucia and the youngest Paola, his goddaughter.

The drawings inspired by the children give particular insight into Picasso's mischievous nature and playful sense of fun, qualities not always associated with his work. The highlights from the collection include the portrait Lucia Dominguín (estimate: £15,000 – £20,000) which captures the oldest daughter, Lucia, as a four-year-old in traditional Spanish dress, while a cut-out doll La poupée (estimate: £40,000– £60,000) he made for her circa 1961 was in response to her wish for a doll for her upcoming birthday. Having specified the type of doll she wanted as a 'Mariquita Perez', a popular Spanish baby doll, she was naturally horrified when the artist produced his own paper version and cried tears of bitter disappointment until she got the real thing.

The charming drawing, Taureau aux quatre oreilles, 1962 (estimate: £20,000-£30,000) was prompted by little Miguel's arrival into Picasso’s studio one day to loudly announce that his father had chopped off all four of the bull's ears at his last bullfight. Picasso tried as best he could to convince the child that a bull has only two ears, but finally conceded when Miguel impishly pointed out that if Picasso's painted women can have four eyes, then surely a bull can have four ears. The title of La Chumbera, 1963 (estimate: in the region of £80,000), a wonderful drawing of a multi-legged woman, was an affectionate nickname for Reme, the childrens’ beloved nanny. She and Picasso struck up a strong friendship over the years and he produced many small drawings for her as embroidery patterns.

Following her 1968 divorce from Dominguín, Lucia returned to her film career and was much sought after by directors such as Fellini and the Taviani brothers. She now devotes her time and extraordinary energy to her Museo de los Angeles (Museum of Angels), which she single-handedly established in Segovia. The museum is home to a permanent collection of artworks on the theme of angels as well as frequent temporary exhibitions. Proceeds from the sale will benefit the museum.

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