NEW YORK, NY.- Christies
will offer Pablo Picassos Femme accroupie (Jacqueline), painted on October 8, 1954 as a central highlight of its Evening Sale of Impressionist and Modern Art on 13 November in New York. Marking its first time at auction, Femme accroupie (Jacqueline) comes from a private collection, and is estimated to sell for $20-30 million. The work will be on public view at Christies London from 16 - 19 September, and at Christies Hong Kong from 28 September - 3 October.
Christies Global President, Jussi Pylkkanen, remarked, Jacqueline was a beautiful woman and one of Picassos most elegant muses. This painting of Jacqueline hung in Picassos private collection for many years and has rarely been seen in public since 1954. It is a museum quality painting on the grand scale which will capture the imagination of the global art market when it is offered at Christies New York this November.
The brilliant primary colors in Femme accroupie (Jacqueline) illustrate a sunny day in the South of France during early autumn, 1954. Picasso and Jacqueline Roque, his ultimate paramour and eventual second wife, had begun living together in the Midi and would soon return to Paris to reside in the artists studio. The present painting is one of three large-easel-format canvases that Picasso painted on October 8th, in a flourish of portraits that celebrate the artists new mistress, declaring her newly established pride of place in the artists life and work.
In each of the three October paintings, Jacqueline is seated on the floor; in a compact, crouching pose, clasping her knees. From an open window behind her, golden light fills the room. The space is likely a corner of Picassos studio on the rue du Fournas in Vallauris, in a building that had previously housed a perfume factory, the scents from which still graced the air.
Jessica Fertig, Senior Vice President, Head of Evening Sale, Christies New York, continued, We are thrilled to be bringing to market for the first time this powerful portrait of Picassos great love Jacqueline. Picasso delighted in capturing Jacquelines beautiful features, here rendered with a wonderfully thick impasto. Picasso embarked on his late, great period, which his biographer John Richardson succinctly defined and characterized as lépoque JacquelineIt is Jacqueline's image that dominates Picasso's work from 1954 until his death, longer than any of the women who preceded her.
The color forms in Femme accroupie (Jacqueline) reflect Picassos admiration for Matisses distinctive cut outs. Less than a month after completing the present portrait, Matisse, who was the only living artist whom Picasso recognized as his peer, passed away. A month after that Picasso commenced work on his painted variations, which would finally number fifteen in all, on Delacroixs two versions of Les femmes dAlger. The series was ostensibly his tribute to the Delacroix-inspired odalisques of Matisse, to honor the memory of his longtime rival, but also an admired friend. The Femmes dAlger paintings are also a declaration of affection for Jacqueline.
An homage to Delacroix had been on Picassos mind for more than a decade, and the advent of Jacqueline, just as importantly as the idea of a tribute to Matisse, induced Picasso to undertake his own series of odalisques. Picasso had become intrigued at Jacqueline's resemblance to the odalisque crouching at lower right in the Louvre version of Delacroixs harem scene, whose face is seen in left profile.