Málaga 1881 - 1973 Mougins
Homme nu couché
Colour wax crayon drawing on wove paper with watermark "GUARRO". 51,8 x 64,4 cm. Framed under glass. Signed, dated and inscribed 'Picasso 4.2.67.I' in blue crayon upper right and inscribed 'I' in brown crayon. - The sheet edges weakly browned, otherwise in fine condition with vibrant colours.
Zervos Vol. XXVII, 438 with illus.; The Picasso Project, The Sixties II (Wofsy 2002), 67-044 with illus.
Galerie Louise Leiris, Paris; Marlborough Fine Art, Ltd., London (1970); Saidenberg Gallery, New York; Galerie Taménaga, Paris; Galerie Michael Haas, Berlin (each with gallery label on back cover of frame)
London 1970 (Marlborough Fine Art, Ltd.), Moore, Picasso, Sutherland. Drawings, Watercolours, Gouaches, cat. no. 48 with colour illus.
For Picasso this motif is more than just unusual: a bearded man lying alone! No model, no muse, no Venus, no Aphrodite, no erotic fantasy animating him? Now, the reclining figure is not simply some resting man that Picasso perhaps caught by surprise in his studio? A nude bearded man with a melancholic look, lying there as if his eyes were shrouded by a curtain, his gaze turned inward, one of his legs bent in a relaxed pose and the other laid across it, his arms crossed above his head. There is nothing of the constant struggle, nothing of the drama of a bull fight, nothing of the tragic battle of the Minotaur, nothing of the unbridled dramas of Eros, nothing of the electric encounters between painter and model penetrating more than just the psyche, nothing of the sculptor's fantastic wishes to create an ideal sculpture with the help of Pygmalion? No excessive gestures, that is, no ritual - and instead a relaxing, seemingly melancholy man?
Reclining male figures often appear in Picasso's work, for example, in the “Suite Vollard”, a central work by Picasso in which he appropriates and identifies himself with the figure of the Minotaur and narrates his excessive life, finally leading to his blinding and death in the arena, but of course this Minotaur-as-Picasso does not lie there alone. Where is the ecstasy of love, the ecstasy of drawing? Is the painter tired? Is the sculptor tired?
What remains is the sensuality of line, a powerful body filled with the dense curls of loops drawn in coloured crayon over a delicate contour drawing, an indication of thoughts circling in a dynamic space. In 1967, the year this coloured crayon drawing was created, Picasso was in his mid-80s, but his creative power remained unbroken. Quite the opposite: Picasso was drawing and painting ceaselessly, like never before. In the years 1966 to 1968 he created over 400 drawings, many of them in colour, and these were joined by 347 prints and around 265 paintings. The theme of “painter and model” still continued to be central, as was the seduction of his model, the never-ending love between Amor and Venus, his slipping into the role of the Minotaur to seek adventure. Yearnings, fears and depression experienced regarding his departure in the future? Resting in the studio! Picasso is only resting, contemplating his powerful appearance as a faun, as a centaur and, in his most striking role, as Eros. Picasso is not tired, on the contrary: he would paint even more intensely, more wildly against death. Six years still remained to him.