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Pablo Picasso

Le couple

charcoal on paper
c. 1901
21,2 x 33,2 cm / 8 7/8 x 13 1/4 in.
signed lower left verso with sketch and signed lower right

In 1901, Picasso worked at the art journal „Arte Joven“ in Madrid, creating illustrations, which he already signed „Picasso“. After the journal shut down, he returned to Barcelona in March. He moved back into the studio he had rented with his friend Casagemas, who had shot himself at the Café Hippodrome in Paris on February 17 because of his unrequited love for the dancer Germaine Gargallo. For Picasso, the suicide of his friend was a great shock, which is considered the catalyst of the Blue Period. In May 1901 the 19 year old went to Paris again. Ambroise Vollard was presenting an exhibition of his works in his gallery. In Paris he painted the famous self portrait „Yo Picasso“, and the present drawing showing a man and a woman in an interior in the same year. It might be a studio, for in the background we see an easel with a painting on it, a sculpture, and paintings on the wall, or the home of Pere Mañach, where Picasso was staying. The man, who is turned towards the woman, is Picasso, recognizable by the moustache and the shock of hair falling over his right temple. That is how he portrayed himself on „Yo Picasso“. The depicted woman is probably Germaine Gargallo. Picasso knew her from his first sojourn in Paris the year before. During this, his second stay, he began a short affair with her.

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