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Lot n° 5

Pablo PICASSO (Malaga, 1881 - Mougins,...

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PORTRAIT OF MANUEL PALLARÉS with a factory in the background

Barcelona, between December 1899 and January 1900

Charcoal and petrol paint on paper

Signed lower left: P Ruiz Picasso

Titled on a label on the back: Pallares

44 x 32 cm


Private collection A.K., Paris


Els Quatre Gats, Barcelona, 1900, "Pallarès


Christian Zervos, Pablo Picasso: Vol. I (1895-1906), Paris, Cahiers d'art, 1932, reproduced at no. 13, which dates it from 1898

Pierre Daix, Georges Boudaille and Jean Rosselet, Picasso 1900-1906 - Catalogue raisonné de l'OEuvre peint, Neuchâtel, Ides et Calendes, 1966, reproduced p. 108, no. I. 7, which dates it from 1899

Josep Palau i Fabre, Picasso vivant (1881-1907), enfance et première jeunesse d'un démiurge, Paris, Albin Michel, 1990, p. 183, reproduced on p. 188, no. 422, which dates it from 1900

The Picasso Project, Picasso's Paintings, Watercolors, Drawings and Sculpture -

A Comprehensive Illustrated Catalogue 1885-1973. Picasso in the Nineteenth

Century: Youth in Spain II - 1897-1900, Barcelona, Madrid, Horta de Sant

Joan and Malaga, San Francisco, Alan Wofsy Fine Arts, 2008, reproduced p. 273, no. 1899/00-085, which dates it to December 1899 - January 1900

Picasso Estate 2021

This portrait of the painter Manuel Pallarés, Pablo Picasso's "lifelong friend", appeared in Picasso's first solo exhibition. It belongs to a gallery of portraits presented at the Quatre Gats in February 1900 from which it is distinguished by the landscape of factories in the background. This detail led critics to say that it was one of the first portraits in the series to be painted. Josep Palau i Fabre has particularly emphasised the still highly symbolic dimension of the smoke from the chimneys drawing arabesques in the cloudy sky.

El Quatre Gats, Pere Romeu's famous cabaret, was home to Barcelona's bohemian artists and intellectuals from 1897 to 1903 (fig. 1). They met there as they did at the Chat Noir in Paris. Among the young artists, Picasso quickly established himself as an avant-garde leader. So, when their elder Ramon Casas exhibited his oil paintings and charcoal portraits of the local bourgeoisie at the Sala Parés gallery, the whole circle encouraged Picasso to hold a counter-exhibition: "what we want, more than anything else, is to put Picasso in front of the idol of Barcelona and to make the people angry; the people and Casas, if the occasion arises" (according to J. Sabartès, Picasso, Portraits and Memories, Madrid, 1953).

It was October 1899. It was necessary to react quickly.

Picasso took up the challenge with fury and produced about a hundred portraits and a few oils during the winter. The exhibition was inaugurated on February 1, 1900, carnival day. The opening was festive. Our painter offered the people of Barcelona a panorama of their time by depicting the most important intellectual personalities of the time, such as Santiago Rusiñol (fig. 2) or Manuel Pallarés, as well as people he met on the Ramblas or in the streets (fig. 3 - next page).

In this context, our portrait of Pallarés by

Picasso occupies a singular place. The two men had met in Barcelona where they became friends with each other. Manuel, who lived in the remote village of Horta de San Juan, welcomed Picasso into his home, still weak from scarlet fever.

Our artist stayed there for many months, helping the family with the work on the farm without stopping drawing. His friend served as a model for him and we can see in a study the same profile with a gentle look as on our drawing (fig. 4 - next page). This deep friendship lasted until their death. We find them arm in arm, with a facetious look, dressed as Roman emperors on a photograph coloured and dedicated by Picasso " Para Manuel Pallarés, mi amigo de siempre. Picasso, el 5.10.60" (fig. 5 - next page).

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