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Pablo Picasso
Les Communiants

1919

Unavailable
$1,750,000Asking Price

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A painting by Pablo Picasso. "Les Communiants" is a modern, cubist painting, oil on canvas by Pablo Picasso executed in contrasting tones of warm earth colors in browns and reds and the cool colors of blues and whites. Picasso based this piece on a photograph of a young girl and boy on the day of their first communion. The cubist style of the figures contrasts sharply with the curves of the drapery in the background and the realistic style of the chair in the foreground of the piece. During this same year, Picasso painted a companion piece to this work, but in the Neoclassical style (Les premiers communiants, J. Palau i Fabre, op. cit., no. 374; coll. Musée Picasso, Paris). The artwork is signed upper right, "Picasso 19". Provenance: Family of the Artist Jacques Doucet, Paris Josephine Hartford Bryce, New York; Estate sale, Christie's, London, 26 June 1996, lot 272 Anonymous, acquired at the above sale Sale, Christie's, New York, 10 May 2001, lot 384 Maspro Art Museum, Japan Christie's New York, Impressionist and Modern (Day Sale), 5 May 2005, lot 337 Private Collection, California, acquired at the above saleExhibition: New York, Jacques Seligmann & Co., 20 Years in the Evolution of Picasso 1903-1923, November 1937, no. 13 (illustrated) Literature: C. Zervos, Pablo Picasso, Oeuvres de 1917 à 1919, Paris, 1949, vol. 3, no. 286, p. 100 (illustrated) J. Palau i Fabre, Picasso from the Ballets to Drama (1917-1926), Barcelona, 1999, p. 497, no. 376 (illustrated, p. 128) The Picasso Project, ed., Picasso's Paintings, Watercolors, Drawings and Sculpture: From Cubism to Neoclassicism, 1917-1919, San Francisco, 1995, p. 180, no. 19-28 (illustrated)

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About Pablo Picasso (Artist)

One of the most prolific and revolutionary artists the world has ever seen, Pablo Picasso (1881–1973) had a tremendous impact on the development of 20th-century modern art.


Although he is best known for his association with the Cubist movement, which he founded with Georges Braque, Picasso’s influence extends to Surrealism, neoclassicism and expressionism.


“Every act of creation is, first of all, an act of destruction,” the Spanish artist proclaimed. In his Cubist paintings, he emphasizes the two-dimensionality of the canvas, breaking with conventions regarding perspective, foreshortening and proportion. Picasso was inspired by Iberian and African tribal art. One of his most famous pre-Cubist works is Les Demoiselles d’Avignon (1907), a painting considered immoral and shocking at the time for its depiction of nude women whose faces resemble Iberian tribal masks.


He made many portraits in this style, most often of the women in his life, their expressively colored faces composed of geometric shards of surface planes. In Woman in a Hat (Olga), 1935, he painted his first wife as an assemblage of abstract forms, leaving the viewer to decipher the subject through the contrasting colors and shapes. Picasso was a tireless artist, creating more than 20,000 paintings, drawings, prints, ceramics and sculptures. Tracing his life’s work reveals the progression of modern art, on which he had an unparalleled influence.

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