Pablo Picasso

One of the most influential artists of the 20th Century, Picasso was one of the fathers of Cubism, a movement that made reality into abstract depictions that show what things really are, as opposed to what they look like. The Spanish artist settled France in 1901, where he lived through two World Wars, had multiple lovers, sired several children, and created hundreds of works in paint, sculpture, etching, collage, lithographs, and ceramics. Influences for his work stemmed from a multitude of sources, such as tribal art, late 19th Century impressionism, particularly that of Cézanne, as well as his emotions and relationships with his ‘muses’ throughout different periods of his life. Picasso’s lifetime constantly creating art has resulted in his legacy as a fine artist.

Pablo Picasso, the infamous artist of the 20th Century, towards the end of his life became obsessed with the imagery of a couple, focusing on the tenderness of eroticism and love. After a long life, living through two World Wars, a manifold of lovers, having four children and producing hundreds of art pieces evolving from naturalism to cubism and surrealism, Picasso married his last muse: 27-year-old Jacqueline Roque. During his final marriage, Picasso created over 70 portraits of Roque before his death in 1973. During his later years, Picasso’s artwork became an amalgamation of the styles he had painted in before, resulting in sketches, etches and colourful paintings that all harkened back to the rest of his life, later recognised to be in the style of early Neo-expressionism.

‘Femme neu et deux tetes’ (1969), which translates to ‘Naked Woman and Two Heads’, depicts a woman resembling Jacqueline being held by two men; one of which is a shadow lurking behind the main couple. The eroticism of the woman is highlighted by the extension of the brushed ink from the dark figure, blurring the penwork used to draw the man on the left. These motifs are common in both Picasso’s etches and pen-based sketches during this time. This piece in particular is showcased at Farhi Fine Art.

Achieving success without sacrificing the artistic vision; Picasso stuck by these words throughout his life, a trepidation to most artists surrounding him. Picasso’s first recognised artwork was ‘Le Picador’ (1889) which he created when he was nine years old. The artist continued to produce artwork until his death in 1973, with his final portrait titled ‘Self-Portrait Facing Death’. During his life and continuing past his passing, Picasso’s creations were met with financial success, remaining the most requested artist to this day, continuing to command high prices from the market. His piece: ‘Les femmes d’Alger’, sold for $179.4 million in 2015, making it the most expensive artwork to sell at auction at the time as well as the largest Picasso sale to date.

During the pandemic, auction houses struggled, however in 2021 Picasso was one of the artists that led the comeback. In the Western market, Picasso has always held dominance, however post-pandemic has seen the demand grow into the global scene. In New York, Paris and London, the artist achieved a gross turnover of $187 million in the modern and contemporary categories. The supply available in the market and the demand have balanced in recent years, making Picasso accessible in a variety of price ranges, whilst remaining an investment into blue-chip art that doesn’t seem to be failing any time soon.

Pablo Picasso created over 50,000 pieces over his lifetime, however many of his artworks have been victim to theft. Roughly 1,100 of the artist’s handiworks are thought to have been stolen, the most recent being in 2012. His paintings, etchings, sculptures, and ceramics can be witnessed worldwide at museums, exhibitions, and galleries, most notably a museum in southern France that boasts the world’s largest collection.

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MARKET SIGNALS

MEDIUM Yearly lots sold Sell-through rate Sale price Price over estimate
Painting 30 76.6% $412k 8%
Sculpture 15 83.6% $331k 2%
Print 96 88.8% $27k 50%
Photography 14 84.3% $15k 72%
Work on Paper 10 83.7% $17k 89%

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