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Spaightwood Galleries

Last updated: 6/23/2019
Home / Gallery Tour 1 / Masters of Modernity / Gallery Tour 2 / Artists

Masters of Modernity: The Human Figure:
Picasso / Matisse / Miró / Braque / Klee / Magritte / Giacometti

For selections from the show, see: The Figure / Artist and Model / Nature / Nature2 / People / People2 / People3
Music and Dance / Biblical etchings / Chagall's Lithographs for the Bible / Chagall and Paris / Kandinsky
If there is a twentieth-century artist who truly needs no introduction, it is Picasso; if there is a twentieth-century artist about whom more books have been written than Picasso, we have no idea who it might be. In any case, Picasso is not going to get much of a general introduction here. Rather, a general introduction to the works in our inventory must suffice. Picasso was a wildly inventive artist who periodically returned from whatever voyage he was undertaking to rest, refresh himself with the familiar—classically-drawn people, bullfights, dances, animals, birds, insects, flowers, the artist and his model, love and lust—before venturing out for further explorations,. Picasso helped invent the artistic vocabulary of Cubism, Surrealism, and Post-Modernism. Along with a few other artists—Matisse, Kandinsky, Braque, Miró, Chagall, Léger, Giacometti, and Magritte spring quickly to mind—he invented modernity in art for the twentieth century. On this page and several linked pages, we present a sampling of the themes of our 2007-2008 Winter show: Masters of Modernity.

Bibliography: The literature on Picasso is enormous. We list here only catalogue raisonnés for his prints: Georges Bloch, Volume I: Catalogue of the Printed Graphic Work 1904-1967 (Berne: Editions Kornfeld and Klipstein, 1971); Georges Bloch, Volume II: Catalogue of the Printed Graphic Work 1966-1969 (Berne: Editions Kornfeld and Klipstein, 1971); Galerie Louis Leiris, Picasso: 156 Gravure Récentes (Paris: Galerie Louis Leiris, 1973); Sebastian Goeppert, Herma Goeppert-Frank, & Patrick Cramer, Pablo Picasso The Illustrated Books: Catalogue Raisonné (Geneva: Patrick Cramer, 1983); Ulrike Gauss, Pablo Picasso Lithographs (NY: D. A. P., 2000); Fernand Mourlot, Picasso Lithographs (Boston: Boston Book and Art, 1970). The Gauss Lithographs uses the same numbers as the Mourlot catalogue, but illustrates color prints in color; the 156 Gravures picture book was published by Picasso's longtime gallery and illustrates the entire series, otherwise not to be found except in the very rare Bloch Volume IV. Cramer illustrates all of Picasso's prints for books and art reviews and provides an authoritative source for information about the sizes of editions and the various papers used for the prints.
Pablo Picasso (Spanish, 1881-1973), Le vieux roi / The old king (Mourlot 317, Gauss 748, Bloch 869). Original lithograph, 1959. 1000 impressions on thin velin signed in the stone in red as a fund-raiser for the newspaper Le Patriote. There were also 200 pencil-signed & numbered impressions on heavier velin. Image size: 669x512mm. Price: $3500.
Pablo Picasso (Spanish, 1881-1973), Le Cocu Magnifique: planche 6 (Bloch 1249, Baer 1437). Original Etching and aquatint, 1966. 200 unsigned impressions for the portfolio Le Cocu Magnifique published by Fernand Crommelynck, Editions de l'Atelier Crommelynck (Paris, 1966). The work contained 12 original etchings with aquatint. The first 30 portfolios were accompanied by a suite of all of the prints with large margins. The print seems to be the nightmare of an old rake. On the left two women watch as a grinning witch/doctor in a pointed hat and black robe approaches a large pair of testicles with a gigantic hypodermic needle. Immediately below the testicles, three diminutive figures (one seated cross-legged seems to be the chief of a tribe of primitive people wearing a crown of horns and a necklace) watch with interest. To the right, an old man, looking somewhat like the old Picasso, also watches. Overhead, a winged boy, clearly Cupid, the god of love, is about to shoot an arrow from his bow at one of the women on the left. Below roses are scattered (perhaps to remind us that we should gather our rosebuds when we can) which gradually turn into decorations in the hair of the the two women. From the top left, an old man with a beard but without a body watches the scene with what seems to be an expression of sadness. Dated 15.12.66 (15 December 1966) in the plate top left. Ours is a superb impression from the regular edition. Image size: 225x325mm. Price: $3750.
Pablo Picasso (Spanish, 1881-1973), Series 156: 135: Artist and Model (B. 1990; Series 156 n. 135). Original etching, 1971. 50 numbered impressions signed with the estate signature stamp. Executed 3/28/71 and approved by Picasso before his death, this etching, like the others in this series, was printed posthumously. Ours is an artist's proof, inscribed "E. A. IX/XVI." An old artist watches a beautiful young model. One of the largest in the 156 Series, most of which show aging artists (including Rembrandt, Degas, and Picasso himself) looking at their beautiful young models. Image size: 320x420mm. Price: $8450.
Henri Matisse (French, 1869-1954), Odalisque sur fond rouge. Color pochoir (hand-colored stencil print) after a painting, 1929. 500 impressions for Florent Fels' Henri Matisse, published in Paris by XXe Siecle. The pochoirs were executed under Matisse's supervision. This beautiful hand-colored piece is one of the few early color prints in Matisse's print oeuvre. Image size: 154x224mm. Price: $2,675.
Henri Matisse (French, 1869-1954), Odalisque au tambourin. Color pochoir (hand-colored stencil print) after a painting, 1929. 500 impressions for Florent Fels' Henri Matisse, published 1929 in Paris by XXe Siecle. The pochoirs were executed under Matisse's supervision. This beautiful hand-colored piece is one of the few early color prints in Matisse's print oeuvre. Image size: 223x162mm. Price: $2,875.
Henri Matisse (French, 1869-1954), La maison publique or "Bataille de femmes" (Freiburg 219). Original soft-ground etching, 1935. 1500 impressions the Limited Editions Book Club edition of James Joyce's Ulysses. Matisse did not read Joyce before executing the etchings, but instead reread Homer's Odyssey. The prints were very well printed and are frequently included in books on Matisse and exhibitions of Matisse's works (and, in fact, they were on display at the Musée Matisse during the summer of 1999). The justification papge was signed by Matisse, and purchasers of any of the etchings published with the book will receive a copy of that justification. Image size: 275x214mm. Price: $2250.
Joan Miró (Spanish, 1893-1983), Personnages devant la mer / Figures by the sea shore (Dupin 13). Original color pochoir, 1934. Published in December 1934 in the art journal D'Aci i D'Alla; printed by J. Mateu, Pochoir Publicity Art, barcelona, 1934. The number impressions of this prochoir is unknown, as is the number that might have been destroyed during the Spanish Civil War soon to follow, What we do know is that impressions of this piee are rarely aavailable in the art market (this is only the second impression of this that we have seen since 1975). This is one of Miró's most surreal prints showing a male and a female figure reaching out for each other in lust or terror while the leg of the female figure on the right seems to interpenetrate the leg of the male figure on the left. A rare and beautiful print with the surface texture of a gouache slightly marred by two small flaws in the shape of spots in the lower left corner by the heel of the male figure and on the right side of the white torso of the male figure. The spot on the torso is not red but gray; the spot by the heel is a discoloration slightly darker than the yellow where it occurs. Image size: 315x245mm. Price: $7200.
Paul Klee (Swiss, 1879-1940), Sommeil d'hiver / Winter's Dream. Original lithograph, 1938. Edition: as published in the deluxe art review Verve in 1938. Signed in the stone. On the reverse there is a black & white lithograph by Joan Miro which incorporates Klee's name and the title of the work. Image size: 349x250mm. Price: $1250.
René Magritte (Belgian, 1896-1967), Le Viol / The Rape. Original etching, 1934. 950 numbered impressions signed in the plate lower right plus 50 HC impressions. All are also signed with the blind stamp of the Succession Magritte (The Magritte Estate): see lower right and here. Printed at Atelier Dutrou in Paris on Velin de Rives. This is the original publication of this etching. Image size: 155x137mm. Price: $1250.
Georges Braque (French, 1882-1963), Eurybia and Eros (Vallier 21). Original etching with remarques, 1932. According to Vallier, "A few known impressions, one of which is in the Print Department at the Museum of Modern Art." Exhibited in MoMA's Vollard retrospective and illustrated in Johnson's 1977 Ambroise Vollard. A rare and important work. At the same time we purchased this work, we also purchased a screenprint by Stanley William Hayter dedicated to Adelyn Dohme Breeskin, author of the Smithsonian's catalogue raisonné of Mary Cassatt's prints and a longtime curator at the Smithsonian. We believe that this impression was also part of her collection. Image size: 365x297mm. Price: $4650.
Annette, Horse, Stool (Lust 92). Original lithograph, 1951. Published in the deluxe art review, Derrière le Miroir. Edition unknown (c. 1000 impressions signed in the stone; there are no pencil-signed impressions.) Chiara Negri, "Giacometti Lithographer and Etcher," singles out the three lithographs for the 1951 Derriere le Miroir and three of the 1954 Studio lithographs (including Annette in the Studio [Lust 10]) as the best examples of his lithographs, "the very keystone of Giacometti's entire output" (2): "All show the studio, cluttered with sculptures, paintings, stools, trestles, chairs and all the tools and tackle of a sculptor. All three [of the 1951 Derriere le Miroir lithographs] include a figure (either a person . . . or a sculpture in the center of the sheet, the pivot of the whole composition. The significance of Annette goes beyond the figures merely formal function (as a balancing element for the whole scene). She . . . is above all else a symbol of the relationship between the artist and his art, i.e. his own works. Giacometti went on to produce an enormous number of other lithographs, possibly technically more successful, but never showing with more clarity the value of graphics as a means of reflection on his own activity, and therefore on his own existence" (11). Image size: 380x280mm. Price: $1500.

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