The achievement of the Demoiselles encouraged Picasso to explore new styles of painting. After Cézanne, he desires to promote expression and structure. Cubism is not a style nor a school but a pioneering research, with its trials and errors.
In 1909 Pablo spends the summer with Fernande in a Catalan village named Horta, only accessible by mule track. During the same summer, Kandinsky gets himself isolated in Murnau with Gabriele. Independently of each other, these two artists become the theorists who are inventing the art of the twentieth century.
On June 21 in London, Sotheby's sells as lot 8 a portrait of Fernande by Pablo, oil on canvas 81 x 65 cm conceived and painted in Horta. The estimate is not published, probably because Cubist works by Picasso have become exceedingly rare in private hands. Sotheby's let however escape an expectation beyond £ 30M.
The fragmentation in blocks that gave its name to Cubism offers a similar processing for the three themes tested by Pablo in Horta: portrait, landscape and still life. The outlines of the subject are visible with a little effort leading to recognize the broad face of Fernande. The colors are subject to a similar mix : we are not in front of a portrait but of an image suggesting the features of a seated woman in the warm Catalan summer.
For several of its characteristics, Cubism is a dead end. In the following years, the trend to a dull monochrome increases the difficulty of interpreting the image without offering the puzzling breakthrough of abstraction. The loss of the three-dimensional effect generates the trials of collages which will not save the Cubism.
It does not matter, because every artist can now engage his own style in an original expressive quest. From Picasso, the modern art has become multifaceted.
Please watch the video shared by Sotheby's.
SOLD for £ 43M including premium