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Sotheby’s Hong Kong 2024 Spring Sales Exhibition

2 April - 5 April


This Spring in Hong Kong, Sotheby’s will present an exceptional masterpiece by Pablo Picasso in Asia. Offered on the market for the first time, this rare example from the artist’s late period marked the return of Picasso’s iconic autobiographical series of paintings portraying artists at work. Created during a period characterised by an artistic fervour, energy and freedom, the painting reflects an intensity of colour and movement unique to the artist’s later years.

Picasso and The Painter Series

In the 1960s and early 1970s, Picasso produced a series of canvases focussing on the painter either as their sole subject or with an accompanying model. This series, produced when he was already world-famous, explored one of the great motifs to dominate Picasso’s late oeuvre – that of his self-identity as an artist. The work was recently included in the prestigious Fondation Beyeler exhibition Picasso. Artist and the Model: Last Paintings, Le Peintre.

Through the spontaneity of his brushwork and use of emblems such as the yellow hat, a distinct nod to Van Gogh, Le Peintre captures the moment of artistic inspiration and expresses the energy of the very act of painting. The choice of teal blue was distinctive to Picasso’s late period and pre-empted several works of 1964-1965 which featured a similar, unique palette of green, black and gold. As in other works in his painter series, Picasso clothes the figure in a blue striped Breton shirt, resembling those he often wore, to reinforce this connection. Picasso also splits the painter’s youthful face in two, duplicating the profile to examine the multiple elements of the painter’s identity.

During the 1960s he devoted a decade to the reinterpretation of the great masters of the past, a focus that affirmed his place in the art history. Today, paintings from this more colourful period of Picasso’s output have become increasingly desirable internationally, particularly with modern and contemporary collectors.

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